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Presented to the 
LIBRARIES of the 
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO 

by 

DAVID BLEWETT 



THE NOVELS 
AND MISCELLANEOUS WORKS 
OF DANIEL DE FOE. 



VOLUME THE FOURTEENTH. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



THE NOVELS 

AND 

MISCELLANEOUS WORKS 

OP 

DANIEL DE FOE. 

WITH A BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR, LITERARY 
PREFACES TO THE VARIOUS PIECES, ILLUSTRATIVE NOTES, ETC. 
INCLUDING ALL CONTAINED IN THE EDITION ATTRIBUTED TO 

THE LATE SIR WALTER SCOTT, 

WITH CONSIDERABLE ADDITIONS. 

VOL. XIV. 
RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP* 




OXFORD: 

PRINTED BY D. A. TALBOYS, 
FOR THOMAS TEGG, 73, CHEAPSIDE, LONDON. 
1840. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP- 



WITH AN APPENDIX. 



IN ONE VOLUME. 



OXFORD : 
PRINTED BY D. A. TALBOYS, 
FOR THOMAS TEGG, 73, CHEAPSEDE, LONDON. 
1840. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP: 



BEING 

Historical Discourses 

on THE 

Necessity of Marrying Religious 
Husbands and Wives only. 

AS ALSO 

Of Husbands and Wives being of the same Opinions 
in religion with one another. 

WITH AN 

APPENDIX 

OF THE NECESSITY 

Of taking none but Religious Servants, and a 
Proposal for the better managing of Servants. 



PREFACE. 



As this way of writing in cases not much unlike 
this, has been approved of, and has met with great 
success in other hands, it has been an encourage- 
ment to this undertaking. 

Historical dialogues, it must be confessed, have 
a very taking elegancy in them, and the story 
being handed forward in short periods, and quick 
returns, makes the retaining it in the mind the 
easier, and the impression the more lasting, as well 
as delightful. 

The story represented here is capable of such and 
so many applications to the cases of young people, 
whose settlement is always in view, that there 
will never be a time when the instruction will 
be useless. 

If anybody should object, that too much is put 
here upon the woman's part, and that a lady can- 
not be supposed, in the midst of her lover's ad- 
dresses, to take upon her to demand such an ac- 
count of himself as is here suggested ; that few men 
will stoop to such an examination ; and few women 



X PREFACE. 

venture the loss of their lovers upon such a subject; 
let such consider how small the satisfaction here 
proposed on the lady's part is, and that no gentle- 
man can think hard a woman should be satisfied 
whether he is a Christian or a heathen; a man of 
religion or an atheist ; and indeed no man of any 
tolerable share of sense, will address himself to a 
lady for marriage, but he will take care to antici- 
pate her inquiries of that kind, by showing some 
concern, for knowing what she is herself. 

The universal neglect of this trifle, both in men 
and women, is what this book is designed to cor- 
rect, and there needs no greater satire upon that 
part, than the success of the several cases here 
related : (viz.) the happy life of the youngest 
sister, who came into the measures proposed; and 
the miserable condition of the second sister, who 
rashly threw herself into the arms of a man of 
differing principles from her own, though blessed 
with all the good-humour in the world. 

In these accounts, the very great consequence of 
being equally yoked, is illustrated ; and it appears 
here how essential a share of religion, and a har- 
mony of principles in religion, are to the felicity of 
a conjugal life. 

To those who do not cast off all concern for 
themselves ; who do not make marrying a mere 
leap in the dark, and as the first lady expresses it. 
rushing like a horse into the battle, these things 
will be of some moment. As to those that are 
void of care of those matters, they must go on, and 



PREFACE. xi 

pay for their experience; let them take heed, and 
buy it as cheap as they can. 

If the women seem to be favoured in this story, 
and have the better part of the staff put into their 
hands, it is because really the hazard is chiefly on 
their side, and they are generally the greatest 
sufferers in the success : but if it were otherwise, 
yet, if they are treated with more than ordinary 
regard, the author hopes they will not lay that sin 
to his charge. 

The Appendix to this work speaks for itself: 
irreligious servants, in some respects, are the plague 
of families, and keep our houses always in disorder. 
'Tis a wonderful thing to reflect on, that so scan- 
dalous an evil, so easy to be rectified, should have 
gone to such a degree as it has in the world ; and 
that masters and mistresses of families, have not 
long ago for their own ease, and for the satisfaction 
of one another, come to a general law, for the 
managing, the punishing, and, above all, for the 
recommending of servants; which, if they would 
do, they would easily, I say, bring them to know 
themselves, and do their duty ; neither of which is 
the case among servants at this time. 

But 'tis all our own faults ; we recommend sluts 
and thieves, drones, and saucy, insolent fellows and 
wenches : I say, we recommend them to one an- 
other, without any concern for our neighbour's 
safety and peace ; in a word, to pay the debt of 
charity for those creatures, which have abused us, 
we forget the debt of justice to one another, and 



Xll PREFACE. 

betray the confidence which one housekeeper and 
neighbour owes to another, in one of the most 
essential articles of their families' quiet. 

This is all exposed here ; and though this part is 
very short, being but an accident to the other dis- 
courses ; yet, I presume to say, it will be as accept- 
able, and, in its kind, as useful as any of the rest. 

This edition of this work recommends itself 
upon this express condition, viz., That the author 
has not found occasion to alter anything from the 
former (errors of the press excepted), nor have I 
found room for any additions, that usual pretence to 
set off new impressions, and impose upon those 
who have bought the first; being still fully satisfied, 
that the goodness of the design, and the usefulness 
of the subject, will make this work acceptable 
wherever it comes. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



PART L 

There lived in a village near London, an ancient 
grave gentleman of a good estate, which he had 
gained by trade, having been bred a merchant, 
though of a very good family too ; he had been a 
man in great business, but his circumstances being 
easy, and his love of a retired life increasing with 
his years, he had left off his business, and taken a 
house a mile or two out of town ; he was a widower 
at the time of this affair, his wife having been dead 
some years before. 

He had five or six children, and all grown up, 
but none settled in the world, though he had an 
estate sufficient to give them very plentiful fortunes. 
His three daughters were very agreeable women, 
and, which was still better, were very sober, mo- 
dest, sensible, and religious young ladies, two of 
them especially; and as the character of their 
father, and the fortune he was able to give them, 
recommended them very well to the world, so they 
had several gentlemen that made honourable and 
handsome proposals to their father for their mar- 
riage. 

I shall most carefully avoid giving any room here 
so much as to guess what opinion in religion they 
were bred up in, or whether the old gentleman was 
a churchman or a dissenter ; and the same caution 

r. c. B 



2 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



I shall use with all the rest of the persons whom I 
shall bring upon the stage in the course of this 
story ; my reason for which, everybody will under- 
stand by the nature of the relation, and of the times 
we live in. 

The father of these ladies had been a man always, 
till now, hurried in the world, being crowded with 
a vast business, taken up with getting money, and 
with growing rich ; so that he neither had much 
concern for, or indeed took any care of, the educa- 
tion or instruction of his children, but left them 
wholly to the conduct of their mother. Nor was it 
any great loss to the children, especially to the 
daughters, their mother being a most pious, reli- 
gious, and virtuous lady, who was not only extraor- 
dinarily qualified to instruct her children, but gave 
up her whole time to it from their childhood. 

One morning, a little before her death, calling 
her daughters to her, she told them, among other 
things, that as to marriage, she had but two injunc- 
tions to lay upon them, which, as she was not likely 
to live to see them settled, she would desire them 
to lay down as maxims in the choice of their hus- 
bands ; and which she would, as upon her death- 
bed, if her words had any extraordinary influence 
upon them, oblige them to observe strictly, viz., 

1. Never to marry any man, whatever his person 
or fortune might be, that did not at least profess 
to be a religious man. 

2. Never to marry any man, how religious soever 
he may seem to be, if he was not of the same prin- 
ciples and opinion in religion as themselves. 

And as this was but a little before her death, so 
the daughters were more than ordinarily touched 
with the sense of it, and resolved to pursue it 
exactly. How they did pursue it, and the conse- 
quences of it, will be seen in the following dialogues. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



3 



It followed some time after, that a gentleman of 
a very good estate courted the youngest of these 
daughters ; and making very handsome proposals to 
her father, (for he offered to settle 6001. per annum 
upon her,) the father was exceedingly pleased with 
the match, he being a gentleman, thoroughly well- 
bred, an agreeable person, and, in a word, nothing 
appearing to give the least reason why he should 
not be as acceptable to the lady as he was to the 
father. 

As he came thus recommended to the father, 
there appeared nothing disagreeable in it to the 
young lady, nor had she at his first appearance the 
least exception to make against the gentleman as 
to his person. Indeed, as to his estate, though her 
fortune was very handsome, yet his was so far be- 
yond it, that there was no comparison in the case; 
and besides all this, she had this engaging circum- 
stance in the proposal, viz., that she being the 
youngest of the three daughters, the gentleman had 
passed over her two eldest sisters, and had singled 
her out by his more particular fancy, giving her 
that undeniable mark of his affection, viz., that she 
would be the wife of his choice, and consequently 
that she would have an uncommon security of the 
sincerity of his love to her. 

The father opposed his proposal a little at first, as 
a slight offered to his eldest daughters ; but the 
gentleman told him, that he hoped, if he accepted 
his design of coming into his family, he would give 
him leave to take the person his judgment had 
made choice of, and that he thought he might be 
happy with ; that it would be a very hard circum- 
stance to him, and what he could not think of 
with patience, to marry one of his daughters and 
be in love with another ; that he was very far 
from offering any slight to the eldest, letting him 

b 2 



4 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



know, that happening to see the youngest first, 
he found such suitableness, and something so agree- 
able in her to him, that he resolved to look no 
further ; that, perhaps, if he had seen the eldest or 
the second daughter first, it might have been the 
same thing ; but that as he could not answer for the 
bias of his fancy, so neither could he answer it to 
his own conduct not to choose her, that was from 
the first moment he saw her, the only woman in the 
world that he ever thought could make him happy. 

Her father could make no return to an answer 
that had so much weight in it, and which appeared 
to be so sincere; and, therefore, not acquainting his 
eldest daughter with the design he had to propose 
her to him, he took occasion to talk to them all to- 
gether one morning as they were drinking choco- 
late ; and begins merrily with them thus : — 



DIALOGUE I. 

Father. Well, girls, you little think now, which 
of you all is like to be first married. What say you, 
child, (turning to the youngest ;) I hope you are 
content to let your eldest sisters go before you ? 

3rd Daughter. Yes, yes, sir ; I desire both my 
sisters may go before me ; for I see nothing in the 
world to make me in haste. 

Fa. Why, what's the matter, that you are so out 
of love with the world all on a sudden ? Is it that 
you think yourself too good for everybody, or every- 
body too good for you ? 

3rd Da. No, sir ; I am neither so vain to think 
the first, or so humble to think the last; but I 
desire to think of myself as I ought to think. 

Fa. How is that, pray ? 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



5 



3rd Da. Why, sir, I think I live too well to 
change for the worse ; and this is not an age to 
change for the better, and therefore I desire to be 
as I am. 

Fa. Why is this age so much worse than that 
which went before, pray ? 

3rd Da. Nay, sir, I don't know ; but I am very 
well satisfied, sir, with your first proposal, that my 
sisters may try before me. 

Fa. Well, well ; and if you go before your sisters 
there will be no harm done, if it be to your liking, I 
hope ; I dare say none of your sisters will be angry. 
At which the two eldest said, No, no ; we shall 
be very glad to see it. And so they fell to jesting 
with their younger sister, till they almost angered 
her. 

You are mighty difficult, says the eldest sister, 
that you fall upon the whole world, as if there was 
nothing good enough for you. 

Says the second sister, She will be as easily 
pleased as another, I warrant her, if she was talked 
to in earnest. Upon which, notwithstanding their 
father was present, they fell to rallying one another 
between jest and earnest, a little too warmly, as 
follows : — 

3rd Da. That may be ; as my eldest sisters teach 
me, I hope they intend to set me a good example ; 
for 'tis their turn first. 

1st Da. We don't know that ; if a good offer 
comes in your way, you'll hardly put it off, and say, 
Your betters must go before you. 

3rd Da. For all you are both my eldest sisters, 
I question whether you understand what a good 
offer means ; and, it may be, have considered it no 
more than I : there's a great deal in that word. 

1st Da. O ! I'll explain it in a few words : a good 
estate, and a man you like. 



6 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



2nd Da. Nay, you might have stopped at the 
first : 'tis no matter what the man is, if the estate 
be but good. 

3rd Da. Is that the example my eldest sisters in- 
tend to set me ? 

Fa. Aye, and a good example too, child. 

3rd Da. You are disposed to jest, sir, but I 
believe you would not be pleased with such 
a way of choosing a husband for any of your 
daughters. 

2nd Da. I hope my father would ; I'm sure I 
should. 

3rd Da. That's no token to me that you have 
considered much of the matter, as I said before. 

2nd Da. Why, what yould you have besides a 
good estate ? what matter is it what the man is ? I 
would pass by a great many homely defects for a 
good settlement. 

3rd Da. As for the homely defects, perhaps I 
may be no nicer than you, if there was nothing else 
wanting. 

2nd Da. What can be wanting, if there be money 
enough ? 

3rd Da. Nothing, I hope, when my sister comes 
to choose. 

2nd Da. No ; nor when you come to choose 
neither, it may be. 

3rd Da. I'm afraid there will. 

2nd Da. For my part, I shall inquire for nothing 
else, as I know of. 

3rd Da. No ! what, would you have your husband 
have no religion ? 

2nd Da. What have I to do with his religion ? 
he'll be a Christian I hope. 

3rd Da. And what if he should not ? 

2nd Da. Nay, then he may be a heathen, an he 
will ; what's that to me ? 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



7 



3rd Da. That's a proof of what I said before, 
that you have not considered much of the matter. 

2nd Da. No, indeed, not I ; but I suppose my 
younger sister has. 

3rd Da. Your younger sister never told you so 
yet : but methinks there requires very little consi- 
deration to say, if I ever should marry, I would not 
have a rake, a heathen, a profligate fellow, a man 
without religion, purely for his money ; if you think 
these things no objections, and are got over such 
scruples in the case, I must tell you, sister, that it 
seems the business has been more in your head 
than in mine, or at least to worse purpose. 

2nd Da. Well, it may be so ; and then it may 
follow, that when you have considered more of it 
too, you will be of my mind. 

3rd Da. What, to marry an atheist ! a man of no 
principles ! that knows neither God nor Devil ! 

2nd Da. Aye, aye, that or anything else, if you 
have but a good settlement, child ; a good settle- 
ment will make up all those things : you'd take him, 
I warrant you. 

3rd Da. No, sister ; not for all I can see with my 
eyes. 

2nd Da. O, you don't know your own mind, till 
you come to be tried ; we shall see you tell another 
tale hereafter. 

3rd Da. I a'n't so fond of a husband, whatever 
my sister is. 

(Here the father, seeing that the younger sister 
began to be a little moved, and, unwilling they should 
make a quarrel of it, put an end to the discourse, 
and so they soon after withdrew ; and then the 
father, being left with the eldest daughter only, went 
on with his discourse thus to her.) 

Fa. Child, you are a little too hard upon your 
sister. 



8 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Da. She should not have taken it so, sir \ she 
knows it is but in jest. 

Fa. But you do not know whether it may be all 
in jest or no. 

Da. Nay, sir ; I am sure all our share in it was 
in jest ; if there is anything in it, I should have 
talked in another way. 

{Here she was very inquisitive with her father to 
hnow if there was anything in it or not, at which he 
only smiled.) 

Da. Nay, sir, then I understand how it is. 

Fa. Well, child ; how will you take it, to see 
your youngest sister married before you ? 

Da. O, very well, sir, I shall be very glad of it, 
if it be for her good : but if I were to speak my mind, 
I should say something to her about it, that, it may 
be, there may be occasion for. 

Fa. Well, pray speak your mind then. 

Da. Why, sir, for all my sister's bantering her, I 
must own, our youngest sister will not be easily 
pleased in a husband, as times go now. 

Fa. How do you mean, child ? 

Da. Why, sir, I mean, that though she may be 
the first of us that shall be asked, she may be the 
last of us that will be married. 

Fa. Ay, my girl ! is it so with you then ? what, 
have you been both making your bargains without 
me ; and they are so near concluding ? that's very 
hard. 

Da. Dear father, how could you have such a 
thought of us ! you are quite wrong ; you don't un- 
derstand me at all. 

Fa. Nay, how can I understand you any other 
way ? if it is not so, explain yourself. 

Da. Sir, I mean that my sister will not be easily 
pleased ; she will scarce take the first that comes, I 
dare say. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



9 



Fa. No ; then I shall take it very ill : for, I assure 
you, he that I mean is a very good one. 

Da. Nay, if he is a good one, it may be she may; 
but 'tis a question, sir, whether her good one and 
your good one may be both of a sort. 

Fa. Why, he has a very good estate, I'll assure 
you ; far beyond what she can expect. 

Da. That's a good thing : but that will go but a 
little way with her, I know. 

Fa. Well, he is a very handsome, well accom- 
plished, well-bred gentleman ; she cannot mislike 
him ; he is a most agreeable young gentleman, I 
assure you. 

Da. That won't go a bit the further with her, 
neither, I am sure. 

Fa. Then he is in love with her, and has singled 
her out from you all ; she will be the wife of his 
affection, to be sure ; what can she desire more ? 

Da. She will desire something more, still, sir, 
though the last is a thing will go very far ; doubt- 
less, further than anything we have talked on yet : 
but you know, sir, my sister is a very sober, reli- 
gious body, and she will never marry any man that 
is not so too, though his estate, his person, his ac* 
complishments, were beyond all the rest of the 
world ; and this was the reason why I said she may 
be first asked and last married. 

Fa. Nay, I can't tell how matters are as to 
that. 

Da. I'll assure you, sir, she will know how it is as 
to that, before she engages. 

Fa. Nay, let her alone to that part, that's none of 
my business. 

(Here he was touched a little, and reflected back 
softly to himself; O why do I say 'tis none of my 
business ? Whose business is it, if it is not mine ?) 

Da. But, sir, when you know her mind in that 



10 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



case, it may prevent your receiving any disappoint- 
ment, and prevent her venturing to disoblige you in 
refusing what you may propose to her. 

Fa. No, no ; I dare say she wont refuse him ; 
she is not such a fool neither. 

Da. Dear sir, then I hope you know he is a sober 
religious gentleman? 

Fa. I know nothing to the contrary, my dear ; I 
suppose he is. 

Da. But, sir, it makes me anxious about it, be- 
cause you said just now you could not tell : I hope 
you will inquire further into it before you take any 
further steps about it. 

Fa. Why, child, as to that, I dare say she need 
not be concerned ; he is so good a humoured man, 
he will never cross her in small matters, especially 
in religious things. Child, do you think any gen- 
tleman can be angry that his wife is sober and 
religious ? To be sure she may be as religious as 
she will. 

Da. O dear sir, my sister can never be satisfied 
so, sure. 

{He observes his daughter concerned at it, and 
that tears stood in her eyes.) 

Fa. Child, what's the matter ? What makes you 
so concerned about it? 

Da. 'Tis a sad life, sir, for a woman to have no 
help from her husband in things that are good, but 
only to have liberty for herself to be as good as she 
will, or rather as good as she can : by the same rule 
she may be as bad as she will ; and it may be, he 
will like her ne'er the better for the one, nor the 
worse for t'other. 

Fa. Well, he is a fine gentleman, and professes a 
great affection for her. 

Da. Before he has seen her, it may be, or knows 
anything of her. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



11 



Fa. No, no ; he has seen her, but he has never 
been in her company, I know. 

Da. So that I find he cares not what she is ; he 
chooses by her outside only. 

Fa. He takes all the rest upon trust. 

Da. But my sister won't take him so, I can tell 
him that. 

Fa. I shall take it very ill from her if she slights 
him ; for I assure you he is not to be slighted, he 
has very near 2000/. a year estate. 

Da. But I am sure, if he is not a religious man, 
she will slight him for all that ; my meaning is, she 
will never have him ; I suppose she will not be rude 
to him. 

Fa. If she does refuse him, she and I shall 
quarrel, I assure you, and that very much. 

Da. I hope you won't, sir: you will give her 
leave to choose to her own liking; it is for her 
life, and she must bear the discontent of it ; 
nobody can bear it for her : besides, sir, you know 
she was very religiously instructed by my mother. 

Fa. Ay, ay ; your mother was a good woman. 

Da. And you know, sir, I suppose, what advice 
my mother gave her upon her death-bed, viz., never 
to marry a man that was not religious, whatever 
other advantages might offer with him. 

Fa. And did she not give you the same advice 
too, my dear ? 

Da. Yes, to be sure, and all of us. 

Fa. Well ; and yet you heard what your sister 
said just now, viz., that she would not trouble her- 
self about it, so there was but a good estate. 

Da. But I hope my sister would consider better, 
if she came to the question. 

Fa. Why, child, would you refuse such a gentle- 
man, and such a settlement as this is, that offers 
now to your sister, for such a nicety as that ? 



12 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Da. It will be time enough, sir, for me to answer 
that question, when I am offered such a one ; there's 
no danger of me yet. 

Fa. I hope you would be wiser. 

Da. I hope, sir, I should act as becomes me : but 
the case is not mine now ; if it was, I should not 
have begun the discourse. 

Fa. Well ; but did your mother give you such 
advice, child, when she was ill ? 

Da. Yes, sir ; and more than advice : for she told 
us, she would leave it as an injunction upon us, as 
far as her dying words could have any influence to 
oblige us. 

Fa. Very well : that is as much as to say, she had 
found the inconvenience of it herself. 

{Here his conscience touched him again, though 
but slightly, and he fetched a sigh, and said softly. 
If she did, it was nothing but what she had too 
much reason to do ; for she lived but an uncomfort- 
able life with me on that very account.) 

Da. Nay, indeed, dear father, we never put any 
such construction upon it. 

Fa. And so, my dear, you think your sister will 
not like this gentleman, do you ? 

Da. Indeed, sir, I cannot tell, till I know what 
kind of a gentleman he is ; no, nor then neither ; 
for how can I tell what my sister will like, or how 
her fancy may lead her to act against her judgment, 
if she should like him very well upon seeing him ? 

Fa. But you believe she won't. 

Da. If he is not a very sober religious man, I 
do think she won't ; if she does, she must break in 
upon the most solemn resolutions that she is able to 
make. 

Fa. Why, will nothing serve her but a saint? 
Alas ! where does she think to find him ! What ! 
would she marry a bishop ? 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



13 



Da. Nay, sir, if she should, she is not sure she 
should not be disappointed ; ministers are but 
men. 

Fa. No, indeed, child ; nor always the best of 
men neither. 

Da. But, sir, where there is a profession of re- 
ligion, there is some likelihood of finding the truth 
of it ; but where there is no profession, there it 
cannot be. Now though we are not obliged to be 
sure our husbands should be saints, yet I believe 
we ought to be satisfied that they are not atheists : 
there's a great deal of difference, sir, between a 
friend to religion, and an enemy. 

Fa. Well, well ; the girls of this age do not much 
trouble themselves about religion ; they generally let 
it alone, till they see what religion their husbands 
are of. 

Da. Dear father, I hope your girls are not of that 
sort. 

Fa. My daughters are like other folks' daughters, 
I believe ; I hope they are not worse. 

Da. But, sir, if that were true, then there would 
still be the more reason to take care that they should 
marry religious husbands, else they would have no 
religion at all. 

Fa. But how shall you know it ? 

Da. We must endeavour to be satisfied as well as 
we can ; if we are deceived, it may be our unhappi- 
ness, but will not be our fault; but if we neglect the 
caution, it may be a double misery, by its being our 
sorrow, and our sin too. 

Fa. Well, child, I hope this gentleman will please 
your sister as well as he does me, and I would not 
have her stand in her own light : if he is not so re^ 
ligious now, it may come afterwards : the man is a 
sober, well-bred, ingenuous gentleman. 

Da. I can say nothing to it, sir, unless I knew 



14 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



him: I only take notice of the principle, sir, on 
which my sister goes, and by which I am sure she 
will act in this matter, that you may not be disap- 
pointed, and resent it ; for I know she will not go 
from it. 

Fa. Til warrant you : I intend to talk with her 
about it ; I don't doubt but she will like him very 
well. 

[Two or three days after this discourse the father 
brings home this young gentleman to dinner, and 
after dinner he takes occasion to talk with his 
daughter, and to tell her that this was the gentle- 
man that he had told her of, that intended to court 
her, and that he expected she would think of the 
thing, and receive him as her own inclinations and 
his merit should direct. 

The gentleman did not discourse much with her 
by herself that time, having no design to begin 
closely at the first view ; however, he had the op- 
portunity of walking two or three turns with her in 
a green walk in the garden, and, when he took his 
leave, told her he resolved to wait on her again ; to 
which she made him no answer for that time. 

The next evening he came again, and after that 
for several evenings together, when having made her 
acquainted with his design, and laid close siege to 
her for some time, she found nothing to object against 
him ; for he was, indeed, a most agreeable person, 
and her father pressing her to it on the other hand, 
and letting her know what honourable proposals he 
had made her, and how he had singled her out 
from all her sisters as the object of his choice, she 
began insensibly to find her affections very strongly 
biassed in his favour. 

All this while she could make no discovery of 
anything about religion in him, nor so much as 
whether he was well inclined or perfectly destitute. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



15 



The respect he showed her, and the distance she 
kept him at, permitted him not to use any loose ex- 
pressions that might give her any light into his prin- 
ciples ; and, as he afterwards confessed, he found 
her so nice in things of that kind, that the least dis- 
located word would have given her an offence ; and 
therefore he kept upon his guard a great while, till 
at length, when they became more intimate, he 
abated his usual caution. 

By this time, as she confessed to her sister, she 
did not only like him, but really loved him ; and 
having nothing to object against him, had given him 
reason to see, that she designed to have him ; but 
she was under a great concern how to know what he 
was as to religion ; and terribly afraid lest she 
should give her affection such a loose, that though 
she should be deceived in the main point, she 
should not be able to master herself so much as to 
go back. As she was musing very seriously upon 
this one morning in her chamber, her eldest sister 
came in to her, and began the following discourse 
with her.] 

Eld. Sist. Sister ! How stands the world with 
you now ? 

Yo. Sist. Never worse, sister. If you do not 
help me, I am undone. 

Eld. Sist. What's the matter ? 

Yo. Sist. Why, if I have this man, I shall be the 
misearablest creature alive. 

Eld. Sist. How so ? 

Yo.Sist. O ! there's nothing of religion in him. 

Eld. Sist. Are you sure there is not ? 

Yo. Sist. No, I am not sure ; but we have con- 
versed this month now, and I never heard one 
word about it come out of his mouth ; and if I 
speak a word, he turns it off, and does it so cleverly, 
that I can't put in another word for my life. 



16 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Eld. Sist. I warrant you, I would find it out if it 
were my case. 

Yo. Sist. You could not, I am sure. 

Eld. Sist. Why, I would ask him point blank 
what religion he was of. 

Yo. Sist. Why, so I did, and he laughed at me, 
and said, O child, I am a mighty good Christian. 

Eld. Sist. I should have told him I was afraid 
he was not. 

Yo. Sist. Why, I did that too, in the very words ; 
and still he put me off. Another time I asked him 
if he was not a papist? Immediately he fell a 
crossing himself all over, and made himself and me 
so merry at it, that though I was really troubled 
about it, I could not for my life get the least serious 
thing out of him. 

Eld. Sist. Why you must let it go on a little fur- 
ther, till you are more intimate ; and till you come 
to talk of your way of living, the affairs of his 
family, and house, and the like. 

Yo. Sist. Really, sister, I am afraid to go on any 
further, for, I must confess, I begin to have a strange 
kindness for him ; and if I go any further I may 
love him better, till my affection may be a snare to 
me, and I may be prevailed with to take him with- 
out further inquiry, which T shall have no peace in. 

Eld. Sist. What will you do then ? 

Yo. Sist. I know not what to do. I wish you 
would try what you can make of him ; you are free 
enough with him to talk anything of that kind, 
sure. 

Eld. Sist. I can be free enough, but that won't 
do it ; if he is too cunning for you, he will easily be 
too cunning for me. 

Yo. Sist. Why, do you think then that it is a 
disguise ? 

Eld. Sist. What else can it be ? Do you think 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



17 



he guards himself so strictly against all your at- 
tempts for nothing ? 

Yo. Sist. If I thought so, I should inquire no 
further ; it would be a plain discovery to me. 

Eld. Sist Why so? 

Yo. Sist. Why, if he was a serious religious per- 
son, he would have no reason or occasion to con- 
ceal it ; if he endeavours to hide himself, it is for 
something that he would not have known, and then 
I need not ask any more after it. 

Eld. Sist. No doubt of it ; you cannot think any 
other. 

Yo. Sist. But, indeed, I do think otherwise : I 
verily believe it is all mere nature, and nothing but 
the height of good humour 5 for I have never put 
the question downright to him, but in a kind of 
jesting way. 

Eld. Sist. But why don't you then ? Why do 
you trifle and dally so long with a thing of such 
consequence? You an't afraid of disobliging him, 
are you ? 

Yo. Sist. No, indeed ; 1 am more afraid that his 
answer will disoblige me. 

Eld. Sist. Well, well ; you had better have it dis- 
coursed now, than hereafter ; I would not be back- 
ward to speak plain to him. 

Yo. Sist. If I talk never so plain, he will not give 
a serious answer ; he is so merry, I cannot bring 
him to talk ; I beg you will see if you can break in 
upon him. 

Eld. Sist. Come, I'll tell you what I will do, which 
will be better a great deal than my talking with 
him by myself. You know we shall walk all to- 
gether awhile after supper ; I'll begin it before 
you, and you may speak or not speak, take it in jest 
or in earnest, as you find it proper. 

R. C. C 



18 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Yo. SisL Do then; I think that will be very 
well. 

[The next evening the two sisters and this young 
gentleman walking in the garden, as was usual after 
supper, and talking of several indifferent things, a 
servant brings the eldest sister a letter, which made 
some little stop in their walk. She opened it, and 
read it ; and he finding her colour change a little in 
the reading, stepped up to her ; says he, What's 
the matter, sister ? (for he always called her sister;) 
you have no bad news, I hope ? Truly, says she, 
one way 'tis no bad news, and another way 'tis. 
And turning to her sister, she says, Sir James is 
dead. He was a little concerned to hear some 
of the family was dead, lest it should grieve his 
mistress. But she, without any appearance of 
trouble, returned, Well, since 'tis the disposal of 
Providence, I am not grieved ; for my aunt is de- 
livered from one of the worst good husbands that 
ever a sober woman had. He took hold of that 
word presently, and still directing his speech to his 
sister, said, Worst good husbands ! What mystery 
is that ? Why truly, says the sister, the thing is 
too true. Sir James was a very good husband in 
his humour, and in several other things ; but my 
lady had a dreadful life with him. Why, says he, 
that may be very true ; a man may be a very good 
husband in one thing, and be very unkind in an- 
other ; 'tis owing much to the disagreement of 
tempers. The young lady's sister was disappointed 
in his answer ; for she expected he would have 
inquired into the particulars, but he put it off as a 
thing that did not concern him much ; at which the 
youngest sister looked at her, and smiled, which 
was as much as to tell her that she had found now 
that what she had told her was true ; namely, 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



19 



that she would not see it easy to break in upon 
him. She took the hint, and resolved she would 
try the best of her skill, and she found it soon 
answered her end ; so she returned to him very 
smartly, No, no, sir, says she, it was not at all from 
disagreement of temper in this case ; it was worse a 
great deal, it was disagreement of principles, for 
the gentleman was of a very good temper, I assure 
you. Then if he had a good wife, returns he, he 
should have made it his first principle to have been 
obliging and good-tempered to his wife. Alas ! 
says the lady, he had no religion, and she is the 
most pious religious lady in the world. It may be 
then, says he, she had enough for her and her hus- 
band too. Her being religious, said she, made his 
want of it an unsufferable burden to her. Then she 
was to blame, says he, for what need she have been 
uneasy at that ? Not uneasy ! says she ; How is it 
possible a religious woman can live comfortably 
with an irreligious profane husband ! O, very well, 
says he again ; what signifies it to a woman whether 
her husband has any religion or no ? I have better 
thoughts of you, says she, than to believe you 
speak as you think, that you would be understood 
so. 

Her sister had listened very attentively to all this, 
and was sensibly affected with it, but said nothing 
till now, when she turned upon her sister; Why 

sister, said she, should you think so ? I hope Mr. - 

says nothing but what he is very sincere in. Do 
you think he has not his religion to choose as well 
as other young gentlemen ? Madam, says he, how 
should I choose my religion, that have nofrchosen me 
a wife ? Then you are for choosing you a wife first, 
says his mistress, and your religion afterwards ? Why 
madam, says he, don't all the gentlemen in England 

c 2 



20 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



do so too ? I don't know what they do, says she, but 
I know what they ought to do. 

She was now too well satisfied of what she feared 
before, and her mind was so oppressed with it that 
that she was not able to hold ; but making an excuse 
to take her sister's letter, and go in and tell her 
father the news of the death of his brother-in-law, 
she left her sister to walk with her lover, and went 
up into her chamber, and locking herself in, she 
gave vent to her passions by crying vehemently a 
great while : when she had recovered herself, and 
considered that she was obliged in civility to go down 
again, she composed her thoughts, and kneeling down, 
prayed to God to fortify her soul in the resolutions 
she had always taken, never to join herself to any 
man that did not acknowledge God, and profess to 
fear and serve him ; and in this temper she went 
down to him again. 

She was with him after that some hours in the 
evening, as usual ; but he observed she was not easy 
nor free : at length she told him, that upon this oc- 
casion of a relation being dead, it was proper for the 
family, and decent to their father, that they should 
make some little alteration in their conduct, and 
desired he would not take it ill that she retired 
from him sooner than she used to do. This he could 
not object against, and accordingly he took his 
leave, believing that her uneasiness was nothing but 
the business of her aunt's being a widow, which 
though, as she said, she was not much concerned for, 
yet several things about it might take up her 
thoughts, so as to make her not so perfectly easy, 
or so good company, as she was before. 

But he was quite out in his guess ; for her un- 
easiness was of another kind, and she had nothing 
now lay upon her mind, but how she should discharge 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



21 



herself entirely of his importunities, and yet without 
being rude and uncivil to him, and without disoblig- 
ing her father ; for she was firmly resolved in her 
mind never to see him more. 

When she had thus taken her leave of him, she 
went up into her chamber, sending her maid to de- 
sire her sister to come up, and ordering the servant 
to excuse her to her father for not coming to supper, 
for she was indisposed. 

As soon as her sister came into her chamber, she 
ran to her in the greatest passion imaginable, and 
throwing her arms about her neck, O sister, says 
she, help me but out of this wretched business, and 
I'll never come into the like as long as I live : she 
said no more, but hung about her, crying violently 
a great while. 

Sist. What can I do for you, child? you know 
I'll do anything I can. 

Yo. Sist. Don't you see how it is now? was I 
not right in my suspicion ? 

Sist. I am afraid you are: I don't know what to 
say to it. 

Yo. Sist. Say to it ! I would not marry him if he 
was lord high treasurer of Britain. 

Sist What will you do then ? how will you put 
him off? 

Yo. Sist. Put him off! let him put himself off, 
an' he will ; I have no more to say to him. 

Sist Nay, you must have more to say to him, you 
must tell him so. 

Yo. Sist. Not I ; I'll never see him more. 

Sist. Child, you must not be rude to him ; you 
don't want manners. 

Yo. Sist I would not be rude to him; that's it I 
want your help for. 

Sist. What can I do in it ? I cannot go down to 
him when he comes, and tell him you will see him 



22 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



no more; you cannot desire me to carry such a 
message. 

Yo. Sist. No, that's true, I can't ; I know not what 
to do, not I. 

Sist. Shall I speak to my father to do it ? 

Yo. Sist I think my father is the fittest to give 
him his answer ; he brought him first on, and I think 
he should put him off. 

Sist But he will be in such a rage, I hardly dare 
speak of it to him. 

Yo. Sist Dear sister, he won't be angry with 
you, his anger will be all at me. 

Sist You know, sister, my father's infirmity, that 
if he is angry with anybody, he is angry with every 
body ; I know he'll use me very ill if I break it to 
him. 

Yo. Sist What shall I do then? I'll be gone, if 
I never come home again while I live. 

Sist No, no ; you shan't be gone ; whither will 
you go ? 

Yo. Sist I beg of you, sister, speak to my father 
about it. 

Sist What shall I say, if he calls for you ? will 
you come down ? 

Yo. Sist If I must I will ; but keep it off if you 
can. 

( The eldest daughter goes down to her father a 
little before supper ; and as soon as he saw her, he 
began the discourse.) 

Fa. Child, what's the matter with your sister? 
her maid tells me she is not well : have you seen 
her? 

Da. Yes, sir ; I came just from her ; she is not 
very well. 

Fa. What ails her ? she must not be sick now, 
whatever she does ; why, it's ominous to be sick 
when she is wooing. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



23 



Da. I believe she is sicker of that, than of any- 
thing else, sir ; if she was delivered from her gentle- 
man she would be well enough. 

Fa. What do you mean ! why I intend they shall 
be married the week after next : the writings are 
a-drawing, and I designed by and by to have given 
her an hundred pounds towards buying her wedding- 
clothes. 

Da. You may adjourn that awhile, sir, she has 
changed her mind. 

Fa. Changed her mind ! what do you mean ? 

( The father rises up in a great passion, and walks 
about the room.) 

Da. Dear father, do not be angry with me ; 'tis 
no business of mine ; I had rather say no more of it, 
for I see it will put you in a passion : but why 
should you be in a passion with me ? 

Fa. Not in a passion ! who can but be in a pas- 
sion with all of you ! Changed her mind, say you ! 
Ay, and I'll change my mind too ; I'll never give 
her a groat, no, not a shilling, to any other man, 
that I'll promise her. 

Da. I dare say, sir, she has no other man in her 
view. 

Fa. What does she mean then ! is she mad ! to 
ruin herself thus, and stand in her own light ? 
Does she ever expect to have such another offer ? 

Da. No, I believe not, sir ; nor does she desire 

it. 

Fa. No, nor never shall ; I'll marry again, as old 
as I am, and give away what I have to strangers, 
before I'll give it to children that shall treat me 
thus. 

Da. Will you punish, sir, the innocent with the 
guilty ? 

Fa. Why, you are all guilty, for aught I know : 



24 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



what do you come with such a story for ? where is 
she ? call her down. 

Da. Sir, she is very much indisposed; if you 
would please to let her alone till to-morrow, she 
may be better able to speak for herself, and you 
may not be so much in a passion with her. 

Fa. Well, let her alone till morning, then ; I 
suppose she'll change her mind again by that 
time. 

Da. I am sorry, sir, to see you take it so ill of 
her ; but I dare say she will be the same to-morrow, 
and as long as she lives. 

Fa. Well, then I'll be of the same mind too, to- 
morrow. 

The eldest sister went up, after supper, to her 
sister's chamber, who waited for her impatient 
enough. As soon as she came, she gave her sister 
an account of what discourse she had had with her 
father, and how angry he was ; which, though it 
terrified and afflicted her very much, yet it did not 
move her at all to alter her resolutions ; and she 
endeavoured, as well as she could, to furnish herself 
with answers to give her father when he should 
begin with her. But whether it was, that her 
father was impatient to hear what she had to say, or 
that she believing he would not meddle with it till 
morning, came unwarily in his way, is not material ; 
but happening to see her the same night, he called 
her in to him, and told her he wanted to speak with 
her. 

He began very mildly with her, which a little en- 
couraged her ; for she was something surprised at 
his beginning to talk before she expected it : and 
taking her by the arm, feels for her pulse. What's 
the matter with you, child ? says her father ; they 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



25 



told me you wasn't well ; I think your pulse beats 
very true. 

Da. I am better, sir, now ; but I was very much 
out of order. 

Fa. Only a little in love, my dear : that's all, I 
hope. 

Da. No, indeed, sir ; the contrary, to an extreme, 
as I suppose my sister has told you. 

Fa. Your sister, child ! I can lay no stress on 
anything she said ; I cannot tell whether she was in 
jest or in earnest. 

Da. Sir, I am very sorry that what she said is 
disobliging, and more, that it should put you into a 
passion : 1 hope, when you consider of it, you will 
be of the same mind with me. 

Fa. What do you mean, child, by the same 
mind ; I have recommended a gentleman to you, 
whom you can have no objection against, and his 
estate is double to what you can expect : you told 
me yourself that you had no objection against his 
person, and he has made you his choice, and is in 
love with you above all your sisters ; what can you 
desire more ? 

Da. All that you say, sir, is true ; and for his 
person, and estate, they are both better than 1 ought 
to expect, but — 

Fa. But what ? Pry'thee, child, don't bring any 
of your canting scruples to me, I'll hear none of 
your buts. 

Da. It was my fear that you would be in a pas- 
sion, sir, and would not hear me. [She cries."] 

Fa. What father can bear to be so treated, and 
not be in a passion ? What would you have me 
hear? 

Da. Sir, I would have you hear the reasons why 
I cannot comply. 

Fa. It is enough to me to hear you cannot : the 



26 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



reasons I have for the match are good ; you ac- 
knowledge the gentleman is agreeable, you cannot 
say that you cannot love him, and I am sure then 
you cannot give a good reason against it ; and 
therefore I expect you go on with it : I have ap- 
pointed the week after next for your wedding : and 
here, there's some money to buy you clothes. 
[Holds out a bank bill to her.] 

Da. Sir, I beg you will not take it ill, that I can- 
not do it. [She pulls back her hand from the bill.'] 

Fa. What do you mean ? I advise you not to 
play the fool with me any longer. 

(Here the father being in a great passion, her 
sister, who was in pain for her, hearing him loud, 
came in, which greatly encouraged her ; and she 
spoke, though very respectfully, to her father, yet 
with great plainness.} 

Da. Sir, this seems to be a hardship that never 
was put upon any one before : if I was going to 
marry any one you did not like, it was no doubt in 
your power to command me not to do it ; but I 
cannot think you ought to command me to marry 
any man against my will. 

Fa. I have a great many reasons why I ought to 
expect your compliance in this, and you know my 
reasons are good. 

Da. You cannot then but think, sir, that I have 
some reasons against it, or I should comply with my 
father ; for I never disobeyed you before, and why 
should not my reasons be heard ? 

Fa. I know you can have no reasons that are 
sufficient. 

Da. Will you please to let any one else be judge 
of that for me ? 

Fa. I will have no arbitrators between me and 
my children. 

Da. I cannot help myself in that. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



27 



Fa. My dispute with you is short : will you have 
this gentleman, or no ? 

Da. If it was not to my father, I should give a 
different answer ; but I desire to say nothing that 
may displease you. 

Fa. I can't be displeased with words so much as 
I am by actions ; the gentleman has made his way 
through everything, made proposals too great for 
any father to refuse ; you have entertained him, 
showed him a great deal of respect, and now to 
treat him thus, and treat your father thus, 'tis into- 
lerable. 

Da. When the gentleman and you treated of 
this matter, it was without me ; I had no knowledge 
of it, neither was it my part to be concerned. 

Fa. Well, I know that. 

Da. After you were agreed, you bring him to 
me : I suppose this to be, that I might converse 
with him, and see if I liked to make him my 
choice : if this was not the case, you might as well, 
by your command, have ordered me to marry him 
the first day, as now. 

Fa. Well, what do you make of all this ? 

Da. Upon frequent visits made me, I found no- 
thing disagreeable in him, and showed him as much 
respect as was my part ; I hope I have not showed 
him more than became me. 

Fa. Yes, truly, if you resolve not to have him. 

Da. Let him reproach me with that if he can. 

Fa. Why should you have entertained him at all, 
if you resolved not to have him ? 

Da. I did not for some time resolve not to have 
him, till I discovered him further ; and it was your 
command that put me first upon the trial, and my 
reasons now against it are good, if you please to 
hear them patiently: but I'll rather bear all you 



28 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



please to lay on me, than put you into passions at 
me. 

Fa. I desire no reasons, nor no discourse ; an- 
swer me the question in short, whether you will 
have him or no ? it will raise my passion less than 
your impertinent reasons. 

Da. If it must be so, sir, without hearing any 
reasons, then my answer is, No, never while I live ; 
and I leave my reasons for it to him that judges 
righteous judgment. 

Fa. Then from this time forward you are no 
relation of mine, any more than my cook-maid. 

( The young lady was too full to say any more, 
and went out of the room while he was speaking.) 

Eld. Da. Dear father, do not say so. 

Fa. Nay, 'tis no matter whether she heard me or 
no ; I'll keep my promise with her. 

Eld. Da. I hope you won't, sir ; it may be my 
sister may be better advised, or you may be further 
satisfied of her reasons. 

Fa. I know her reasons well enough ; he is not 
hypocrite enough for her, I suppose ; if a fawning, 
smooth-tongued fellow, would come and talk Scrip- 
ture to her, she would take him presently ; she 
does not know what religion is. 

Eld. Da. Sir, if that were true, she would have 
stronger reasons for desiring a religious husband 
than she may have now, that she might have a kind 
instructor to assist her : we have all need of helps, 
that way, at least ; we need no profane husbands 
to keep us back : a loose, irreligious husband, is a 
dreadful snare. 

This was a night of passion, and little was done 
all the evening by the father but to make work for 
repentance. He was so provoked at his daughter, 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



29 



that he made terrible resolutions against her : that 
he would never give her a farthing ; that he would 
turn her out of doors ; that she should go to ser- 
vice ; that he would make his will, and whatever he 
left to the rest of his children, it should be upon 
condition that they should never relieve her, nor 
own her, nor call her sister, and that if they did, 
what they had should go to his eldest son, and the 
like. 

He was so disturbed, that he got but little sleep 
all night, and in the morning he was obliged to go 
out of town early to his sister's, about forty miles 
off, whose husband was just dead, so that he did not 
see his youngest daughter any more before he went ; 
but just as he was stepping into his chariot he called, 
his eldest daughter to him, What, says he, child, is 
to be done in the affair while I am gone ? she won't 
be so rude to turn him off while I am away, will 
she? Indeed, sir, says the daughter, I am per- 
plexed about it; I know not how it will be managed, 
but I believe she will see him no more. Not see 
him ! says the father, that's the unmannerliest thing 
in the world : sure she won't be so rude to me ; she 
might give me the opportunity to put an end to it 
handsomely ; pray tell her I expect it ; and, I assure 
you, if she refuses to see him till my return, I'll 
never see her more as long as I live. 

In this temper the father went away : the eldest 
daughter, poor lady, had her heart full with such a 
message, and scarce knew how to deliver it ; how- 
ever, upon talking further with her sister the same 
morning, and finding her inflexible, and perhaps 
more stiff than she thought she needed to be, she 
did at last deliver it ; their dialogue was short, but 
effectual, as follows : — 

Eld, Sist. Dear sister, what will you do in this 
matter ? my father is gone. 



30 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Yo. Sist. What can I do ? I think my father is 
very unkind to me. 

Eld. Sist. My father is passionate, you know. 

Yo. Sist. But not to hear me, not to ask my rea- 
son, this is very hard ! Do any fathers marry their 
daughters by force ? 

Eld. Sist. Why, I'll tell you what my father says 
to that : he says he knows your reasons beforehand, 
and he thinks them of no weight. 

Yo. Sist. Dear sister, do you think them of no 
moment ? 

Eld. Sist. It's hard for a daughter to make her- 
self judge between her father and the rest of his 
children ; I am sorry you are so hard pushed at. 

Yo. Sist. What would you do in my case ? 

Eld. Sist. Indeed that's hard to say too ; I would 
act as my conscience should tell me was my duty ; 
I confess there is a powerful force in a father's com- 
mand. 

Yo. Sist. No father can command counter to 
God's command. 

Eld. Sist. That's true, my dear ; but consider, 
child, how far God's command lies on you here : I 
know your text, Be not unequally yoked ; and I re- 
member my dear mother's words, that this cannot 
be understood of anything but a religious person 
marrying with a profane. 

Yo. Sist. Well, sister ; and you remember 'the 
charge she gave us, and the promise we made her : 
I look upon these things to be very binding in them- 
selves, and very sacred engagements. 

Eld. Sist. They are binding, indeed, to what is 
our duty at the same time, and they add force to it ; 
otherwise the case would differ. 

Yo. Sist. Just so I understand it; and, I am 
sure, reason, experience, and the nature of the 
thing, join with it : what a wretched house must 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



31 



there be, whether it be the man or the woman's 
case, where one is a Christian and t'other an infidel ; 
one devout, the other profane ; one pious and reli- 
gious, and the other knowing or valuing nothing 
that is serious ! what helps to heaven are such to 
one another ! For my part, I need no wicked dis- 
couragements to pull me back in my duty, no ill 
examples to allure me to folly ; I want all the 
assistance possible the other way. 

Eld. Sist. You preach like an oracle, child; I 
cannot oppose one word you say : but what must 
you do ? you heard what sad, rash resolutions my 
father made. 

Yo. Sist. No, I did not hear them ; and I am 
glad I did not : but, as I am sure I am right, I must 
do my duty, and trust Providence ; if my father 
does not do the duty of his relation to me, I'll pray 
to God to forgive him. 

Eld. Sist. Well, but what will you do with Mr. 
? 

Yo. Sist. I have no thought about him now ; I 
am pretty well over it. 

Eld. Sist. But you must not be rude to him, even 
upon my father's account. 

Yo. Sist. Nay, I would not be rude to him for 
his own sake, for I have no quarrel at him. 

Eld. Sist. How will you avoid it, if you do not 
see him ? 

Yo. Sist. See him ! I would not venture to see 
him upon any account. 

Eld. Sist. Child, what do you call venture ? you 
are undone if you don't see him. 

Yo. Sist. I dare not trust myself to see him : I 
am pretty well over it now, but if I see him again I 
know not what influence my own weakness may 
have upon my resolution ; for I must own to you, 
sister, I have no aversion to him. 



32 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Eld. Sist. You might as well say you own you 
love him. 

Yo. Sist. Well, if I should own it, perhaps it 
might bear being called so ; is it not better, then, 
that I should avoid the struggle between conscience 
and affection ? 

Eld. Sist. But I have a strong fancy that you 
ought to enter into a closer discourse with him 
upon this matter ; I think you do not do either him 
or yourself justice else: for, first, perhaps you may 
find, that though he talked loosely then, when he 
did not know, perhaps, whether we were in jest or in 
earnest, yet if you talked seriously with him of the 
main point yourself, (for you know our discourse was 
at a distance, and was rather a kind of civil raillery 
than argument,) you may find one of these two things 
will happen, viz., either he will talk seriously, and 
let you see that he has a bottom of religious, good 
sentiments, which is all you ought to insist upon, 
and would be a happy discovery on your side ; or 
talk profanely, and be self-convicted. 

Yo. Sist. There is more weight in this, than 
in all you have said yet ; but I can never do it. 

Eld. Sist. Well ; let me add to it, what I was 
loath to tell you, and that is, what my father said 
just now when he went away. 

(She tells her father's words, which staggers her 
resolution.) 

Yo. Sist. My father uses me very hardly. 

Eld. Sist. I am sorry for it ; but it is in nobody's 
power to help it : he would be the same to any of 
us. 

Yo. Sist. What would vou advise me to do 
then ? 

Eld. Sist. Truly, if I might advise you, I would 
have you see him once more. 
Yo. Sist. To what purpose ? 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



33 



Eld. Sist. Why, if it be only to try whether 
what he said before was in jest or in earnest. 

Yo. Sist. I think the discovery is not worth the 
compliment. 

Eld. Sist. Really, I can't say that. Would you 
be contented to have it true that he is a sober and 
religious inclined gentleman ? 

Yo. Sist. Yes, with all my heart. 

Eld. Sist. Is not an estate of near 2000/. a year, 
and an agreeable gentleman, very suitable, when 'tis 
joined with a good Christian ? 

Yo. Sist. I allow it all. 

Eld. Sist. Well ; and you have really not made 
trial enough, to resolve whether it be so or not ? 

Yo. Sist. So you would have me see him once 
more, to try if I can persuade myself to be cheated ? 

Eld. Sist. That's unkind : would I have you to 
be cheated ! no, far be it from me ! but I would 
have you leave no room to blame yourself here- 
after. 

Yo. Sist. You almost persuade me to let him 
come to-night ; but if he does, I shall be very ill- 
natured to him : I question whether I shall be civil 
to him, or no. 

Eld. Sist. That is not my proposal ; you may do 
it, and be very civil and obliging too, let the thing 
take a turn which way it will ; and I wish you would 
try. 

Yo. Sist. Well, I think, I will venture then. 
The end of the first dialogue. 



r. c. 



34 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



DIALOGUE IL 

The young lady having resolved to see her gentle- 
man once more, at the persuasion of her sister, 
there needed nothing to be done but to sit still till 
evening, when he was sure to come. It seems she 
had resolved to send a footman to him, to tell him 
she was gone out of town for two or three days, and 
so to prevent his coming, till her father should tell 
him in general, that it could not be a match ; and 
to make it good, she had ordered her father's coach 
to be ready to carry her to Hampstead, to an uncle's 
house she had there ; but on this occasion she de- 
ferred it, and in the evening he came, as usual, to 
wait on her. It would not perhaps be possible to 
set down the particulars of the courtship of this 
night, there being a great deal of variety in it, and 
nobody present but themselves : but the best account 
we have of it being from her own mouth, I have set 
it down as she related it to her sister in the following 
dialogue. 

As soon as the gentleman was gone, which, his en- 
tertainment not being much to his mind, was some 
hours sooner than usual, she came directly to her 
sister, who was expecting her with the utmost impa- 
tience, though she did not look for her so soon as 
she came neither ; the following dialogue will give 
an idea of the whole. 

As soon as she came to her sister, she prevented 
her thus : — 

Well, sister, you have a nice guess with you ; 'tis 
all as you said, and the business is now all done and 
over. 

1st Sist Well, before I enter into particulars, are 
you pleased and satisfied ? 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



35 



3rd Sist Perfectly satisfied and pleased. 
1st Sist Are you pleased that you have seen 
him ? 

3rd Sist Thoroughly pleased : I would not but 
have seen him again for any good. 

1st Sist Is it as you expected ? 

3rd Sist Ay, ay, just as I expected ; a true gen- 
tleman, perfectly educated, politely bred, that 
knows about as much of religion as a parson's horse, 
that is to say, knows the way to the church door, 
but scorns to debauch his breeding with such a 
clumsy thing as religion ; is more a gentleman, than 
to trouble himself with the meanness of religion, and 
not hypocrite enough to pretend to the sublimer 
parts of it ; one that has not been long enough in 
this world to think of the next, nor is yet come to 
any resolution about when he shall. 

1st Sist I am sorry for it ; I assure you it is not 
as I expected. 

3rd Sist But it is as I expected, I assure you. 

1st Sist Well, but though it is, I believe you are 
not sorry you met him. 

3rd Sist No, no, not at all, I assure you ; I am 
much the better satisfied that I have now the open 
declarations of it from his own mouth. 

1st Sist You surprise me ; I thought he had had 
more policy than so. 

3rd Sist I assure you, as I told you, he is no hy- 
pocrite ; he is not ashamed to be believed to be full 
as bad as he is, and made no doubt but I would like 
him the better for it. 

1st Sist That's hard another way ; he could not 
think you were so too, sure. 

3rd Sist Why he does not think he does anything 
amiss, I assure you ; and takes it ill to be thought 
mistaken. 

1st Sist I can scarce form all this in my mind ; 

D 2 



36 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



I wish you would tell me some of the history of 
this night's salutation, now 'tis so fresh in your 
thoughts. 

3rd Sist. With all my heart; but it will be a long 
story. 

1st Sist. No matter for that ; it will be the more 
profitable, and, I dare say, not the less diverting. 

3rd Sist. Why after we had been together about 
half an hour, he seemed to recollect himself, and 
told me he asked my pardon that he had not con- 
doled with me for the loss of my uncle sir James 

; I told him, he need not, for the loss was not 

so great. He replied, he thought I appeared very 
much concerned at it last night, which made him 
withdraw sooner than he intended. I told him I 
was thoughtful indeed, but not so much about that ; 
for though 1 believed my aunt was very sorry for 
his death, yet I thought she had no great reason ; 
for I was sure she lived a very uncomfortable life 
with him. He wanted then very much to know 
what I was so thoughtful about, if I was not 
troubled at the loss of my uncle : I declined telling 
him, but did it in a way that I intended should 
prompt his curiosity ; for I desired nothing more 
than to have a fair opportunity to tell him very 
plainly what troubled me ; and he soon gave it me. 
He told me he took himself to be so much in- 
terested in me now, as to be concerned in all my 
griefs ; and he claimed to know if anything afflicted 
me, that he might bear his share in it ; and added 
something so handsome and so obliging on that 
head, that I must acknowledge it shook my resolu- 
tion very much ; and 1 had almost given over my 
design ; but I recovered myself again in a moment 
or two. 

1st Sist. Indeed you are a resolute girl ; I think 
what you repeat of him was engaging. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



37 



3rd Sist. I told him it was natural for people to 
make sudden transitions from other people's case to 
their own, and that indeed that was the occasion 
that made me so uneasy : I knew my aunt was a 
lady of great piety and virtue, that every one knew to 
be exceeding religious and serious: that on the other 
hand, sir James was a mad, frolicsome, merry fellow, 
that neither understood any religion, or troubled 
himself about it, but would play a thousand mad 
tricks with her, because of her strict observation of 
religious things ; and that this gave her a constant 
uneasiness. He smiled, and said he hoped I was 
not afraid of him on that score ; For, madam, says 
he, though I pretend to no religion myself, I cannot 
but respect them that do. This was the first, and 
I think a considerable confirmation of what we had 
said before ; was it not, sister ? 

1st Sist. I am sorry to hear it ; but I'll tell you, 
however, there was one thing that I observe to be 
a good foundation for religion, viz., that he respected 
them that were religious. 

3rd Sist. Ay, sister ; but we did not end here : I 
told him I was very sorry to hear him say he had 
no religion himself ; because, as perhaps I had not 
a great deal, to marry a man that had none would 
endanger my losing what I had ; and I should 
rather have a husband to help me on towards 
heaven, than pull me back. 

1st Sist. What could he say to that ? 

3rd Sist. He told me he did not doubt but I 
would go to heaven without his help ; he said jest- 
ingly, it was a road he had never travelled ; but I 
might be assured he would not willingly pull me 
back, if he did not help me on. 

1st Sist. Well, there was something very honest 
in that too. 



38 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



3rd Sist. That's true, sister ; but negative reli- 
gion is but a poor stock to begin on. 

1st Sist. But 'tis better than a despiser of religion : 
you ought to have acknowledged what good you 
found. 

3rd Sist. My designs lay another way ; I aimed 
at a fuller discovery, and I soon had it. 
1st Sist. Well, go on then. 

3rd Sist. I told him what tricks my uncle used 
to serve my aunt ; how he got a book of devotion 
out of her closet once, and got a long printed 
story about ducking a scold pasted into it ; and an- 
other time got the ballad of Chevy Chace bound 
into her Psalm-book ; how, when he knew she was 
in her closet at her devotion, he would bring his 
huntsman to feed the hounds just under her win- 
dow ; and how one time he made a fellow cry fire, 
and the like ; as you know, sister, he played many 
such pranks, and would do anything to put her 
thoughts into disorder. He told me, though he was 
but a young fellow, and had not troubled his 
thoughts much about religion, (there was another 
stab to my affections, sister,) yet he said he could 
not bear to make a jest of it neither. 

1st Sist. Well, but that was another word in his 
favour too. 

3rd Sist. I replied, I was very sorry to hear him 
own that he had not troubled his thoughts about 
religion, and asked him upon what foundation he 
could think of setting up a family, if that was his 
case ? He told me he kept a chaplain, and jestingly 
told me, he was devout enough for all the rest of the 
house. I grew chagrin and dull ; I told him that 
these things had filled me with very sad thoughts 
about marrying, and it looked very dismal to me. 
But all I could say could not bring him to believe I 
was in earnest. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



39 



1st Sist. I believe he is really very good humoured. 

3rd Sist. Ay, sister, that's true ; but I look for 
something further in a husband, or I am resolved I'll 
have no husband at all. 

1st Sist. Well, but pray go on with your story ; 
what answer did he make ? 

3rd Sist. He laughed at me, and told me he be- 
lieved marrying would make him mighty religious ; 
that he would choose a wife first, and then choose 
his religion. 

1st Sist. The man was mad, sure, to open himself 
so fully. 

3rd Sist. I appeared then really disturbed ; and, 
whether he perceived it or no, I am sure the tears 
stood in my eyes : however, I struggled with my 
disorder, and told him I was very sorry, then, that 
it was his misfortune to begin with one that could 
not be content to marry upon those terms, and 
hoped, when he was fully satisfied of the reason of 
such a resolution in me, he would not take it ill 
that I would stay for him till he had resolved more 
seriously upon a thing of so much more import- 
ance. 

1st Sist. That was very cunningly answered. 

3rd Sist. Then he began to think I was in 
earnest, and told me he hoped I would not talk so, 
because it might be longer than he desired to be 
without me. 

1st Sist. That was still making the case worse ; 
for it was as much as to say, he neither had any re- 
ligion, nor intended to have any. 

3rd Sist. I did not fail to take it so, and told him, 
the longer he was without me it might be the better 
for him, but the longer he was without religion I 
was sure would be the worse for him ; and that I 
wondered how a man of his sense could talk so. 
He replied, he had rather talk of anything else, for 



40 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



he found this discourse did not please me ; I 
told him, he mistook me very much ; for though I 
confessed it did not please me to find him to be 
what I hoped he was not, that is, a person who pre- 
tended to no religion, yet it pleased me very well 
that he had been so just to himself as to let me 
know it before any engagements had passed be- 
tween us. 

1st Sist. If I had not known that my sister 
was never courted before, I should have thought 
you had passed a great many such encounters as 
these. 

3rd Sist. You know 'tis all new to me ; but, how- 
ever, I knew the thing was for my life, and that I 
must speak now or never, and I was resolved to put 
an end to it. 

1st Sist. I must own you were in the right, 
though I am persuaded I could not have said half 
so much. 

3rd Sist. Why you ha'n't heard half of it yet ; I 
made him angry, serious, laugh, and, I think, verily, 
once I made him almost cry. 

1st Sist. I am sorry I interrupted you ; pray go 
on then : what said he next ? 

3rd Sist. He said he wondered I could say that 
no engagements were between us ; he said he was 
so engaged to me as he could never go back. I 
answered, that as his engagements were from him- 
self, so they were best known to himself ; but that 
he knew very well I was under none to him. He 
smiled then, and said he hoped I was. I answered, 
I had not professed to be engaged ; I told him, I 
would not deny that I had respect enough for him 
to have gone further, had not such difficulties ap- 
peared as I could never get over, and had he been 
the person he was represented ; but that, as it was, 
I had too much respect for myself to ruin myself 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



41 



with my eyes open, and too much respect for him to 
keep him in suspense. 

1st Sist Would he not take that for being in 
earnest ? 

3rd Sist Yes, he showed me then that he took 
me to be in earnest, and showed me that he was in 
earnest too ; for he appeared warm, and a little 
angry : he told me he was very sorry to be charged 
with deceiving me, and asked if ever he had said 
anything of himself which was not true ; For, 
madam, says he, if I am not the person 1 appeared 
to be, I must have deceived you in something ; 
pray what sort of a person did you take me for ? I 
replied, as warm as he, that I wondered he should 
mistake me so much ; that I thought he did not do 
me justice ; that I had said, indeed, he was not the 
person he had been represented, but never said that 
he had represented himself one way or other. Then 
he begged my pardon again, and told me he had 
taken me wrong ; that, whatever came of it, he 
would never deceive me ; I should know the worst 
of him, whether I would have him or no. Indeed, 
sir, said I, I am persuaded you are no hypocrite. I 
understand you, said he, you think I have used 
more honesty than discretion. No, sir, said I, I 
very much approve your honesty, and do not blame 
your discretion at all. But I do, said he, for, I find, 
if I could have counterfeited more serious things 
than I am master of, and feigned myself a little re- 
ligious, all had been well. I told him I would not 
say that it was not in his power to have deceived 
me, but I hoped he had acted a part much more like 
a gentleman. He replied that it was hard, then, I 
should make so unkind a return to him as to make 
him lose his mistress for his honesty. 

1st Sist Why really, sister, so it was. 

3rd Sist I told him I thought the best return 



42 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



was to treat him with the same sincerity, and that 
was the reason of the freedom I took ; that as he told 
me plainly what he was, I must tell him plainly, I 
could not think of engaging with him any further, 
till he had thought a little of those things which 
alone could make it reasonable for him to think of 
marrying. He would fain have turned it off to a 
jest ; he laughed at me, he bantered me, he asked 
me how long I would stay for him ? I told him I 
was in no haste. He asked me how long I thought 
I might stay before I got a saint to my mind, as 
the world went now ? I told him I was but an ill 
judge of saints, and might be cheated, as wiser than 
I had been ; but that, as I said before, I would not 
fall into the pit with my eyes open. He told me 
abruptly, he wished I had never seen him. At that 
word, I confess, I was a little alarmed ; however I 
made no answer, but looked full in his face ; I saw 
he was concerned, and, as I thought, in a kind of a 
passion. When he found I looked at him, he re- 
peated the words thus, I wish with all my heart you 
had never seen me. I answered nothing. He 
added, he wished he had known my mind sooner. 
I still said nothing. Then he flung himself into my 
arms, and hung about me : My dear, says he, with 
an inexpressible tenderness, why are you silent? 
Because, says I, I would not give you an answer in 
kind to anything that is disobliging : he returned, 
it was impossible for him to say or do anything dis- 
obliging to me ; that it was true, he wished I had 
never seen him, and that he had known my mind 
sooner ; but it was, that he might have disguised 
himself better, and not have lost me for his being so 
foolishly honest. Why, said I, would you have en- 
deavoured to have cheated me ? Ay, certainly, said 
he, rather than lose you ; and would have done it 
effectually too. Why, what would you have done? 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



43 



said I. Done ! replied he, I would have been the 
soberest, gravest, young fellow, that ever you saw in 
your life. And do you think yourself hypocrite 
enough, said I, to have concealed yourself effectually? 
Why not ? said he : perhaps you think I am too 
much a fool for it. No, sir, said I, I think you are 
too honest for it ; and, of the two, it is much the 
better on your side. 

1st Sist. This was a kind of turn and return be- 
tween jest and earnest : but how did it end ? 

Zrd Sist Why, he carried it on thus a long time, 
till he put an odd case to me, which made me put a 
short end to the discourse : we were speaking of 
fortunes, and the grandeur of families ; at last we 

came to speak of the young duke of . Why 

now, says he, if his grace should come and court you 
with the state and grandeur of his quality, the title 
of a duchess, &c, you would not turn short upon 
him, as you did upon me, and say, My lord duke, 
pray what religion are you of? and yet he has no 
more religion than I. I told him, I thought he did 
not treat me fairly ; that it was saying nothing at 
all, to say I would not have this man, or that man, 
who never made any pretensions to me ; it was 
enough to me, that 1 would let him know, I would 
refuse all the men in the world, that should ever 
come to me, unless I found a reverence of God, a 
sense of religion, and a profession, at least, of the 
duty we all owe to our Maker, had made some im- 
pressions on them : that I might be deceived indeed 
with an hypocrite, for it was not in me to judge of the 
heart, and as the world was now stated, it was but 
too probable I should ; but then it should be my 
misery, not my fault ; and that since he seemed to 
insinuate that I did not act in that affair with sin- 
cerity, I had no better specimen of my resolution 
than this, that though I was very sorry to treat him 



44 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



so, who, I was satisfied, had a respect for me, and 
whose respect I acknowledged was not disagreeable, 
and whose estate and proposals were very much 
better than I had reason to expect ; yet that upon 
this one single account, I assured him I neither 
could nor would ever discourse more with him on 
this affair ; and hoped he would not take it ill, that 
I was forced to be so plain with him before I could 
persuade him I was in earnest. And having said all 
this, I offered to rise and retire, but he held me fast 
in his arms, and would not let me stir. 

1st Sist. Cruel wretch! how could you talk so to 
him? how did he look? 

3rd Sist. Look ! I confess, sister, his looks moved 
me more than all the words he could have said in 
half a year, and I shall never forget them; he seemed 
strangely affected, and once or twice I saw tears in 
his eyes ; but he turned his head away, and reco- 
vered himself, and embarked me in another dis- 
course, in spite of all I had said. Hold, says he, 
you have broke one positive promise you made me 
already. I told him I did not remember that I had 
ever made him any promise at all. Yes, says he, 
you told me just now, you would stay for me, till I 
had made a choice in matters of religion. I told him 
I had not broke that promise yet. Yes, he said, I 
had, in saying I would never discourse more with 
him on this affair. I replied then, that I would ex- 
cept that circumstance, though I thought he need 
not insist on it for several reasons ; first, because 
he might find so many young ladies abroad, who 
would not trouble their heads to make the objection 
I had done, and that there was no occasion for him 
to turn religious for a wife ; secondly, because 
there was no appearance of his returning upon those 
terms. He said that was more than I knew. But 
pray, madam, said he, why do you lay such a mighty 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



45 



stress upon this particular? religion is an entire 
article by itself ; my being religious or not religious 
need not obstruct our affection to one another ; I am 
no enemy to religion. I answered, that it was indeed 
an acceptable thing, as times went now, not to find 
gentlemen despisers and haters of religion, and of all 
that favoured it; but that I was assured, where there 
was not a profession of religion, and where God was 
not acknowledged, there could be no blessing ex- 
pected ; and that I should think I had renounced God, 
and declared war against heaven, if I should marry a 
man that openly acknowledged he had no religion. 
He told me he was sorry to see me run things to such 
an extremity ; that he did not think I had been in 
earnest, when he, in jest, said he had not thought of 
religion ; that he would not urge me in a thing 
which I laid so much stress upon, but would wait on 
me again, and hoped to find me in another mind, 
and to let me know he was not quite so bad as I 
thought him to be. And thus we broke up. 
1st Sist. What, did he go away angry ? 
3rd Sist. Truly, I cannot say how he was : he 
seemed disturbed and uneasy, and went away wil- 
linger than I expected. 

1st Sist Ay, ay, and willinger than you desired 
too ; I can perceive it, sister, well enough. 

3rd Sist. Why, I cannot deny but I have acted 
all this by a force upon my affection : but I should 
have been undone ; I should never have had any 
peace, or expected any blessing in the match ; for 
as a religious life is the only heaven upon earth, if 
it please God to support my resolution, I'll never 
sell the prospect of it for an estate, or for the most 
agreeable person alive. 

1st Sist Tis nobly resolved, sister! I hope you 
will be supported in so just a resolution : but do you 
think he will come no more ? 



46 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



3rd Sist. I hope not ; but if he does, I resolve not 
to see him, if I can avoid it. 

We must now leave the two sisters, awhile, and 
follow the young gentleman a little : for his story 
does not end so. He went away very much con- 
cerned, as above, and particularly it touched him 
very sensibly, that he should be taken for such a 
creature, that a sober, virtuous lady (for such he 
was sure his mistress was) should refuse him merely 
on account of his wicked character; and that though 
she acknowledged she had a respect for him, she 
was obliged to shun him, purely because she was 
afraid of him, as a hater of religion, and therefore 
dangerous to live with. It had run often in his 
mind, that she had said she could expect no blessing 
with him ; and that if she married him she should 
think she had renounced God, and declared war 
against heaven ; So that, to be sure, I am a dreadful 
fellow, says he, that she dares not take me lest she 
should appear to be a confederate with one of God's 
enemies. 

It then occurred to him, that it really was no 
otherwise in fact ; that she was in the right in it all ; 
that he had, in truth, no religion, or sense of God, 
upon his mind, nor had ever entertained any 
notions of religion in his thoughts, and had told her 
so himself ; and that therefore the young lady was 
in the right of it, and if she had any fund of re- 
ligion herself, had a great deal of reason to refuse 
him ; that every sober woman ought to refuse him 
upon the same account ; and that she that did not, was 
not fit to make him a wife, or, at least, such a wife as 
he could expect any happiness from ; that this young 
lady had made a true judgment, and it was his 
bnsiness not to think of persuading her to alter her 
mind, which, in short, must lessen his opinion of 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



47 



her, but to consider what state and condition he 
was in, and what was his first business to do, to 
deliver himself out of it, before he went to her any 
more. 

He grew uneasy upon this subject for some time, 
and being perfectly ignorant of everything called 
duty, having had an education wholly void of in- 
struction, that uneasiness increased ; and not know- 
ing which way to cast his thoughts for immediate 
direction, he grew very melancholy and dejected : 
he loved this young woman to an extreme, and 
that affection was infinitely increased by her con- 
duct in this affair, and by the extraordinary man- 
ner of her refusing him ; but the reproaches of his 
heart, as being such a monster that a woman that 
even owned she loved him durst not join herself to 
him, doubled upon him as his affections for her 
increased. 

He could not think of coming to her again, for 
he confessed the reasons which she gave for her not 
daring to take him were so just, and she had 
argued them so well, that if she should abate any- 
thing of them, he should not have so much esteem 
for her as he had before ; and yet he saw, that if she 
did not, he could never expect to have her; and yet 
also he could not bear the thoughts of not having 
her, for all that. 

He lived in this uaeasy condition some months ; 
his friends perceiving him to be very melancholy, 
tried many ways to divert him, but none reached 
his case, or if they did, they understood not how to 
advise him ; for his relations were most like himself, 
people of levity and gallantry, being rich and gay ; 
a family that dealt very little in matters of religion : 
he had an aunt, his mother's sister, who seemed 
very much concerned about it ; but as she thought 
all that ailed him was his being crossed in his affec- 



48 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



tion, she worked her thoughts about, night and 
day, to find out a wife for him, and so to take his 
thoughts off, and turn them another way : at length 
she found out a young lady in the city, of a very 
great fortune, (for she had near 20,000/. to her 
portion,) and she plied it so warmly with him, that 
he consented to treat of it with her friends, and his 
circumstances being such as few fortunes would 
refuse, he found his way clear enough, and so went 
to visit the young lady. 

It was an odd kind of courtship, you may be sure, 
and he went about it accordingly ; for, as he con- 
fessed afterwards, he resolved, before he saw her, 
not to like her, or anything she said or did ; no, nor 
ever to be in earnest with her upon the thing ; but 
only to jest with and banter her ; and he told his 
aunt so beforehand. However, his aunt would not 
take him at his word, but would have him wait upon 
her, and so he did ; but he needed not to have 
taken up any resolutions in the case, for he was 
spoiled for courtship already, at least for most of 
the ladies of the times ; he had no relish in any of 
their conversation ; it was like music for one that 
had no ear ; all the gaiety and flutter about them 
was lost upon him ; his first mistress had treated 
him with such solid reasoning, such serious talk, 
and had handled him after such a manner, that, in 
short, nothing but what was serious had now any 
relish with him ; however, as I have said, he re- 
solved to put a force upon himself so far as to go 
and see what kind of thing his new mistress was ; 
and accordingly he did go, as above. 

But when he had been one evening there, and 
had talked a little with her, he soon saw he had no 
need of making resolutions ; that he was in no 
danger of being ensnared by her ; the levity of her 
behaviour, the emptiness of her discourse, the weak- 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



49 



ness of her conduct, made him sick of her the very 
first time ; and when he came away, he said to him- 
self, Is it possible for any man in his senses to bear 
this shuttlecock, that had but been one half hour 
with my other mistress ! And away he came, not 
pleased at all. However, he went again for some 
time, till at last, not finding things mend, but 
rather grow worse, he was resolved he would talk a 
little with her about religion ; and as he asked her 
one night, what religion she was of, she answered 
him just in the very words that he had bantered his 
other mistress with ; O, says she, I am a mighty 
good Christian. I believe so, thought he, just such 
another as I was, when I was asked the same question. 
However, he concealed his thoughts, resolved to 
carry it on a little further, and gave her a mighty 
civil answer ; I don't doubt that, madam, says he. 
Well, says she, then what would you have more ? 
Nay, nothing, madam, returned he, I was only in 
jest. O, says she, you want to know what opinion 
I am of! You see 1 am no Quaker. No, says he, 
madam, I am not concerned about your opinion ; 
you may easily have as much religion as I. Nay, 
says she, I ha'n't troubled my head much about it ; 
I don't know what I may do when I keep a chap- 
lain. He had enough of that discourse, and so he 
turned it off* to something else ; for though it was 
almost the pattern of what he had done with his 
first mistress, yet it looked with such a different 
face to him now, that, as he said afterwards, it made 
his very blood run cold within him, and filled him 
with horror at his own picture, which, he thought 
now, was set before his eyes in all its just deformi- 
ties. When he came away from her, he said to him- 
self, Well, now I see the true force of what that dear 
creature argued for herself against me, that to ven- 
ture upon me, while 1 declared against religion, was 
r. c. E 



50 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



to run herself into the pit with her eyes open, and 
ruin herself by mere premeditated choice : it would 
be just so with me in this case, if I should marry 
this butterfly, we should even go hand in hand very 
lovingly to the Devil. This will not do my busi- 
ness ! So he put an end to that affair as soon as he 
could, and resolved to see her no more. 

All this while he had no assistance from either 
books, friends, ministers, or anybody, only the just 
and natural reflection of his own reason : but as he 
was a gentleman of polite manners, and bred to 
conversation with gentlemen of the best quality, as 
well as of the best parts, so the government of him- 
self was the more easy, and he restrained the de- 
jection of his spirits from making any extraordinary 
discovery of itself, only that he appeared a little more 
sedate and more thoughtful than before, and was a 
little more retired in his way of living, but not so 
much but that he came often into public company, 
as before. 

It happened one time, that in promiscuous con- 
versation at a chocolate-house near the court, this 
gentleman and seven or eight more being present, 
the company fell from talking of news to talking of 
religion : the discourse began about the differences 
which had happened in France lately, and were 
then depending between the pope and the French 
clergy ; and of the Sorbonne or faculty of theology, 
as they are called there, being at that time em- 
ployed in drawing up a new system of divinity, or 
body of doctrine, as they called it ; and as a conse- 
quence, it was hinted how likely it was that such a 
strict inquiry made by men of learning and virtue 
into the fundamentals of religion, should lead them 
at last into protestant principles, and break that 
whole kingdom off from the errors and ignorance of 
popery, opening the eyes of the people to Christian 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



51 



knowledge. There being some sober and sensible 
gentlemen there, the discourse was carried on very 
gravely and judiciously, and the whole company 
seemed to receive it with pleasure ; when a couple 
of young beaus, who happened to be in the room, 
beginning to be tired with a thing so much out of 
their way, one of them rises up on a sudden, and 
says to the other, Come, Jack, I am tired of this 
dull, religious stuff ; prythee let us go, there's no- 
thing in it. Ay, says the other, with all my heart, 
I know nothing of the matter : come, will you go 
to the opera ? There sat another young gentleman 
of their acquaintance there, and they pulled him to 
come with them : No, says he, I like this discourse 
very well, 'tis worth two operas to me. Why, says 
the other, how long have you been in orders, pray ? 
Is such stuff as that fit conversation for gentlemen ? 
Yes, says the sober young gentleman, I think it is ; 
pray, what can there be in religious conversation 
that is unfit for a gentleman ? There sat an ancient 
nobleman by, talking with a clergyman, who hearing 
the young gentleman's reply, fell a laughing ; for 
this discourse put the former subject to a stop. On 

my word, gentlemen, says his lordship, Mr. 

has met with you : I don't think you can answer his 
question. Yes, my lord, says the foolish beau, I 
think 'tis below a man of quality to trouble his head 
about it. Pray, sir, says the lord, is it below a man 
of quality to be a Christian ? O, my lord, says the 
other beau, bantering and jesting, we are mighty 
good Christians at the opera ; and turning away to 
his comrade, says he, Come, come, Jack, pr'ythee 
let's go ; so they went both out together, for they 
did not care to engage. Our gentleman listened 
with pleasure to all this discourse, till he heard that 
word, mighty good Christians, and then reflected 
upon his having used that expression to his mis- 

e 2 



52 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



tress, and how his last lady gave him the same re- 
turn ; but he thought it was so empty, so absurd a 
turn, to a thing of that consequence, that he re- 
proached himself with having talked so foolishly, and 
was ashamed to think how like one of these fops he 
had appeared to her, and how he had talked after 
the same senseless way, which he now looked upon 
to be the most empty, scandalous thing in the 
world. 

When the two young rakes were gone, the lord, 
turning to the young gentleman that had refused 
them, complimented him upon his having given 
them so handsome an answer, and having run them 
both aground in one inquiry. My lord, said the 
gentleman, if my question run them aground, 
your lordship's question quite confounded them. 
Indeed, my lord, continued he, 'tis too much the 
notion now, especially among persons of quality, 
that 'tis below them to be religious. My lord said 
it was so indeed ; but that he would fain ask such 
people, whether they thought St. Paul was a gen- 
tleman or no ? And whether he did not show as 
much good breeding and good manners, when he 
appeared before Agrippa, Festus, and the governor 
Sergius Paulus, as any nobleman in Britain could 
have done at the bar of the house of lords ? Upon 
this subject his lordship went on for half-an-hour, 
with a discourse so handsome, so to the purpose, 
and yet so serious, that it highly entertained the 
company ; showing how it became every man of 
quality to behave himself in subjection to the rules 
given him by his Maker, as it became every sub- 
ject to honour his governor ; how piety and religion 
were the glory of a man of quality, and made nobi- 
lity truly illustrious ; that it was so far from being 
true, that religion was not suited to the life of a 
gentleman, that it was certain a man could not 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



53 



truly be a gentleman without it ; that religion was 
so far from being a dull phlegmatic thing, and useless 
in conversation, as was the fashionable notion of the 
town, that really no man could be so bright, so per- 
fectly easy, so cheerful, so sociable, and so always 
in humour for society, as a Christian ; that re- 
ligion was the beauty of conversation, and assisted 
to make it pleasant and agreeable ; that, without it, 
company was empty, discourse unprofitable, society 
unpleasant ; and, in short, that conversation, with- 
out a mixture of something regarding religion, and 
a due connection with it, was like a dance without 
music, or a song without measure; like poetry 
without quantity, or speech without grammar. 
That it was a mistake to think Christianity received 
honour from the dignity of the persons who pro- 
fessed it ; and his lordship said, he wondered to 
hear men express themselves so absurdly vain, as to 
say, such a man is an honour to religion ; that the 
thing was true only in the reverse, and it should 
be said religion is an honour to such a person ; that 
it was a contradiction in the very nature of the 
things, to say, such a man was noble, great, honour- 
able, or a gentleman, without religion ; and it might 
with every jot as much sense be said so of a person 
who had neither birth, family, or manners. 

Our gentleman came home charmed with this 
discourse, as indeed the whole company were be- 
sides ; especially considering the authority and dig- 
nity of the person who spoke it ; his mind was 
inspired with new thoughts by it, both of religion 
and of himself : he not only saw more of the excel- 
lency of religion in itself, but began to see clearly 
it was the ornament of a gentleman to be a Chris- 
tian. It was with the greatest contempt that he 
now looked back upon the notion he had formerly 
espoused of a gentleman's being above troubling 



54 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



himself with serious things. How sordid and 
brutish did the two beaus appear, said he, com- 
pared to that noble and excellent person, my lord 

! How were they laughed at and despised by 

all the gentlemen in the company, and looked upon 
as fellows fit for nothing, but in the highway to 
disaster! On the other hand, it occurred to him, 
how handsomely did that young gentleman answer 
them ; with what modesty did he speak, and yet 
boldly, in defence of a religious life; and what an 
honour was paid him for it, by all the company, and by 
the nobleman in particular ! and then to think of 
what that lord had said, with what applause it was 
received ; how all the company listened to his lord- 
ship, as to an oracle ; how general a consent was 
given to it by all the gentlemen : and, in a word, 
how agreeable the conversation of the day was, put 
it altogether ; and yet, said he, of eleven gentlemen 
in the room, there was not one man among them, 
except the clergyman, who was not above me both 
in quality and estate. 

From all this he drew this general and happy con- 
clusion for himself, viz., that he should never be 
a complete gentleman, till he became a religious 
man ; and that the more of a Christian he was, the 
fitter he should be for the conversation of the best 
and greatest men in the kingdom ; and in conse- 
quence of this resolution, he resolved to apply him- 
self seriously to the study of religious things. 

To avoid the usual diversions of the town, while 
these serious thoughts were upon him, he resolved 
to retire into the country, to a little seat he had in 
Hampshire, remote from all conversation, and where 
he had nobody to talk to but his own servants, or 
some of the neighbourhood, who were all his 
tenants. When he found himself so perfectly alone, 
it began to be a little too much for him, and he 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



55 



grew very heavy, and a little hypochondriac; his 
mind was oppressed with the thoughts of his cir- 
cumstances, but dark as to the due inquiries he ought 
to have made ; at length he roused himself a little 
with these thoughts : 

I talk of being religious ! and being a Christian ! 
Why, I understand nothing of it, or how to go 
about it. What is it ? What is religion ? And 
what is it to be a Christian ? He puzzled himself 
with the questions, and knew not what answer to 
give himself, when it came thus into his mind; Did 
not the first dear preacher (meaning the young 
lady he had courted) tell me what religion was ? 
and how she understood it, viz., a reverence of 
God, a sense of his worship, and impressions of 
duty to him that made us. This certainly is reli- 
gion, and this is to be religious. But which way 
must I go about it ? 

He was seriously musing on this part one even- 
ing, walking all alone in a field near his house, 
when he began to look with great concern upon the 
want which he felt of an early foundation being laid 
in his mind by a religious education. Sure, said 
he to himself, we that are men of fortune are the 
most unhappy part of mankind ; we are taught no- 
thing. Our ancestors have had so little notion of 
religion themselves, that they never so much as 
thought of it for their children ; I don't wonder 
they have thought it below them, for, knowing little 
or nothing of it themselves, they had no other ex- 
cuse to one another for the leaving their children 
entirely destitute of it, but by pretending it was be- 
low their quality. This flung him into a reflection 
which raised this sudden passionate expression, 
God be merciful unto me ! says he. What is be- 
come of my father and grandfather ! He went on 
thus, Who ami! a gentleman ! I am attended by 



66 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



servants ; sirred, and worshipped, and honoured 
here by a parcel of poor workmen and tenants, that 
think themselves nothing to me, and are half 
frighted if they do but see me ; and I am in the 
sight of him that made me, and in my own too, 
a dog, a monster, a thousand times worse creature 
than the meanest of them ; for I am a wretch with 
a soul, and yet know nothing of him that gave it 
me ; a soul commanded to serve and obey the God 
that made it, and yet never taught to know him. 

There lives a poor ploughman, and yonder lives a 
poor farmer ; they both fare hard and work hard ; 
how sober, how religious, how serious are they ! 
how are they daily teaching and instructing their 
children ! and how were they taught and instructed 
by their parents ! and there's scarce a boy of ten 
years old in their families, but knows more of God 
and religion than I do ; I have been taught nothing, 
and know nothing but this, that I am under the 
curse of darkness in the midst of light ; ignorance 
in the midst of knowledge ; and have more to 
give an account of, than a negro of Africa, or a 
savage of America. 

He had wandered so long in these meditations, 
not minding his way, that he found night coming 
on, and he scarce knew he was so far from his own 
house till he looked about him ; then he resolved to 
go back, so he broke off his thoughts awhile, and 
jnade little haste homeward. In his way, he necessa- 
rily went by a poor labouring man's door, who, with a 
wife and four children, lived in a small cottage on the 
waste, where he (the gentleman) was lord of the 
manor ; as he passed by he thought he heard the 
man's voice, and stepping up close to the door, he 
perceived that the poor good old man was praying 
to God with his family ; as he said afterwards, his 
heart sprung in his breast for joy at the occasion, 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



57 



and he listened eagerly to hear what was said. The 
poor man was, it seems, giving God thanks for his 
condition, and that of his little family, which he did 
with great affection, repeating how comfortably they 
lived, how plentifully they were provided for, how 
God had distinguished them in his goodness, that 
they were alive, when others were snatched away 
by disasters ; in health, when others languish 
with pain and sickness ; had food, when others 
were in want ; at liberty, when others were in pri- 
son ; were clothed and covered, when others were 
naked and without habitation ; concluding with ad- 
miring and adoring the wonders of God's providence 
and mercy to them, who had deserved nothing. 

He was confounded, and struck as it were speech- 
less, at the surprise of what he had heard; no- 
thing could be more affecting to him. He came 
away (for he had stayed as long as his heart 
could hold) and walked to some distance, and there 
stopped, looked up, and round him, as he said, to 
see if he was awake, or if it was a dream. At last 
he got some vent to his thoughts, and throwing 
out his arms, Merciful God ! says he, is this to be 
a Christian ! What then have I been all my days ! 
What's this man thus thankful for ! Why, my dogs 
live better than he does in some respects, and is he 
on his knees adoring infinite goodness for his enjoy- 
ments ! Wiry I have enjoyed all I have, and never 
had the least sense of God's goodness to me, or ever 
once said, God, I thank thee for it, in my life. Well 
might a sober woman be afraid of me. Is this 
humble temper, this thankfulness, for mere poverty ! 
Is this the effect of being a Christian ! Why, then 
Christians are the happiest people in the world ! 
Why, I should hang myself if I was to be reduced 
to a degree of a hundred times above him ; and yet 
here is peace, ease of mind, satisfaction in circum- 



58 RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 

stances, nay, thankfulness, which is the excess of 
human felicity ; and all this in a man that just 
lives one degree above starving. We think our 
farmers poor slaves, who labour and drudge in the 
earth to support us that are their landlords, and 
who look upon us like their lords and masters. 
Why this poor wretch is but a drudge to those 
drudges, a slave of slaves ; and yet he gives God 
thanks for the happiness of his condition ! Is this 
the frame of religious people ! What a monster am I ! 
Then he walked a little way further, but not being 
able to contain his astonishment, I'll go back, says 
he, to poor William, (for he knew his name,) he 
shall teach me to be a Christian ; for I am sure I 
know nothing of it yet. 

Away he goes back to the poor man's house, and, 
standing without, he whistled first, and then called 
William ! William ! The poor man, his family wor- 
ship being over, was just going to supper, but hear- 
ing somebody whistle, he thought it might be some 
stranger that had lost his way, as is often the case 
in the country, and went to the door, where he saw 
a gentleman stand at some distance ; but not seeing 
him perfectly, because it was dusk, he asked who it 
was, but was surprised when he heard his voice, and 
knew who it was. 

Don't you know me, William ? says his landlord. 

William, Indeed I did not know your worship at 
first ; I am sorry to see you out so late, and't please 
your worship, and all alone ; I hope you an't on 
foot too ? 

Landlord. Yes I am, William : indeed I have 
wandered through the wood here a little too far, 
before I was aware : will you go home with me, 
William ? 

Will. Yes, and't please your worship to accept o' 
me, with all my heart ; you shall not go alone in 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



59 



the dark thus : and't please your worship to stay a 
bit, I'll go call Goodman Jones, and his son too ; 
we'll all see you safe home. 

La. No, no, I'll have none but you, William: 
come along. 

Will. And't please you I'll take my bill in my 
hand, then, 'tis all the weapons I have. 

La. Well, do then ; but how will you do to leave 
your wife and children ? 

Will. God will keep them, I hope, and't please 
your worship ; his protection is a good guard. 

La. That's true, William ; come along, then ; I 
hope there are no thieves about. {They go to- 
gether.} 

Will. Alas! and't please your worship, 'tis a 
sorry thief would rob a cottage. 

La. Well ; but that little you have, William, it 
is something to you, and you would be loth to 
lose it. 

Will. Indeed I could ill spare what I have, though 
it be very mean, because I could not buy more in 
the room of it. 

La. I know you are poor, William : how many 
children have you ? 

Will. I have four, and't please you. 

La. And how do you all live ? 

Will. Indeed, and't please you, we live all by my 
hard labour. 

La. And what can you earn a day, William ? 

Will. Why, and't please you, I can't get above 
ten-pence a day now ; but when your worship's 
good father was alive, he always gave the steward 
order to allow me twelve-pence a day, and that was 
a great help to me. 

La. Well, but William, can your wife get no- 
thing ? 



60 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Will. Truly, now and then she can, in the sum- 
mer ; but it is very little : she's but weakly. 

La. And have you always work, William ? 

Will. Truly, and't please you, sometimes I have 
not ; and then it is very hard with us. 

La. Well, but you do not want, I hope, William ? 

Will. No, blessed be God, and't please you, we 
do not want ; no, no, God forbid I should say we 
want ; we want nothing, but to be more thankful 
for what we have. 

(This struck him to the heart, that this poor 
wretch should say he wanted nothing, Sfc.) 

La. Thankful, William ! why what hast thou to 
be thankful for ? 

Will. O dear! and't please you, I should be a 
dreadful wretch if I should not be thankful ; what 
should become of me, if I had nothing but what I 
deserve ? 

La. Why, what couldst thou be worse than thou 
art, William ? 

Will. The Lord be praised, and't please your 
worship, I might be sick or lame, and could not 
work, and then we must all perish ; or I might be 
without a cover ; your worship might turn me out 
of this warm cottage, and my wife and children 
would be starved with cold : how many better 
Christians than I are exposed to misery and want, 
and I am provided for ? Blessed be the Lord, I 
w T ant for nothing, and't please you. 

(It was dark, and William could not see him ; 
but he owned afterwards that it made his heart burn 
within him to hear the poor man talk thus ; and the 
tears came out of his eyes so fast, that he walked 
thirty or forty steps before he could speak to him 
again.) 

La. Poor William! thou art more thankful for 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



61 



thy cottage, than ever I was for the manor-house : 
prythee, William, can you tell me how to be thank- 
ful too ? 

Will. And't please your worship, I don't doubt 
but you are more thankful than I ; you have a vast 
estate, and are lord of all the country I know not 
how far ; to be sure you are more thankful than I, 
and't please you. 

La. I ought to be so, you mean, William ; I know 
that ; for it all comes from the same hand. 

Will. 1 don't doubt but you are very thankful to 
God, and't please you, to be sure you are ; for he 
has given your worship great wealth ; and where 
much is given, you know, and't please you, much is 
required ; to be sure you are much more thankful 
than I. 

La. Truly, William, I'd give a thousand pound I 
were as happy and as thankful as thou art : prythee, 
William, tell me how I shall bring myself to be 
thankful ; for though thou art a poorer man, I be- 
lieve thou art a richer Christian than I am. 

Will. O ! and't please your worship, I cannot 
teach you ; I am a poor labouring man ; I have no 
learning. 

La. But what made you so thankful, William, for 
little more than bread and water ? 

Will. O sir ! and't please you, my old father used 
to say to me, that to compare what we receive with 
what we deserve will make anybody thankful. 

La. Indeed that's true, William : alas ! we that 
are gentlemen are the unhappiest creatures in the 
world ; we can't quote our fathers for anything that 
is fit to be named: was thy father as thankful 
as thou art, William ? 

Will. Yes, and't please you, sir, and a great deal 
more : O ! I shall never be so good a Christian as 
my father was. 



62 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



La, I shall never be so good a Christian as thou 
art, William. 

Will, I hope you are, and't please you, much 
better already ; God has blessed your worship with 
a vast great estate, and if he gives you grace to 
honour him with it, he has put means in your wor- 
ship's hands to do a great deal of good with it, and't 
please you. 

La, But you have a better estate than I, Wil- 
liam. 

Will, I an estate ! and't please you, I am a poor 
labouring man ; if I can get bread by my work for 
my poor children, it is all I have to hope for on this 
side eternity. 

La, William ! William ! thou hast an inheritance 
beyond this world, and I want that hope ; I am very 
serious with thee, William : thou hast taught me 
more this one night, of the true happiness of a 
Christian's life, that ever I knew before ; I must 
have more talk with thee upon this subject ; for 
thou hast been the best instructor I ever met 
with. 

Will, Alas ! sir, I am a sorry instructor, I want 
help myself, and't please you ; and sometimes, the 
Lord knows, I am hardly able to bear up under my 
burden ; but, blessed be God, at other times I am 
comforted, that my hope is not in this life. 

La, I tell thee, William, thy estate is better than 
all mine ; thy treasure is in heaven, and thy heart's 
there too ; I would give all my estate to be in thy 
condition. 

Will, O sir, I hope your worship is in a better 
condition than I every way. 

La, Look you, William, I am very serious with 
thee ; thou knowest how I have been brought up, 
for you remember my father very well. 

Will, Yes, 1 do indeed ; he was a good man to 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



63 



the poor : I was the better for him many a day ; he 
was a worthy gentleman. 

La. But, William, he never took any care of us 
that were his children, to teach us anything of reli- 
gion ; and this is my case, as it is the case of too 
many gentlemen of estates ; we are the unhappiest 
creatures in the world ; we are taught nothing, and 
we know nothing of religion, or of him that made 
us ; 'tis below us, it seems. 

Will. "lis great pity, indeed, and't please you ; 
but I know it is so too often ; there's young sir 

Thomas , your worship's cousin, he is a pretty 

youth, and may make a fine gentleman ; but though 
he is but a child, he has such words in his mouth, 
and will swear so already, it grieves me to hear him 
sometimes. It is true, his father is dead ; but sure 
if my lady knew it, she would teach him better ; it 
is pity so hopeful a young gentleman should be 
ruined. 

La. And who do you think spoiled him ? 

Will. Some wicked children, that they let him 
play with, I believe, or some loose servants. 

La, No, no, William, only his own father and 
mother ; I have heard his father take him when he 
was a child, and make him speak lewd words, and 
sing immodest songs, when the poor child did not 
so much as know the meaning of what he said, or 
that the words were not fit for him to speak : and 
you talk of my lady ! why, she will swear and curse 
as fast as her coachman: how should the child 
learn any better ? 

Will. O dear, that is a dreadful case indeed, 
and't please you ! then the poor youth must be 
ruined of necessity ; there's no remedy for him, un- 
less it pleases God to single him out by his distin- 
guishing invincible grace. 

La. Why, his case, William, is my case, and the 



64 



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case of half the gentlemen in England : what God 
may do, as you say, by his invincible grace, I know 
not ; nor scarce know what you mean by that 
word ; we are from our infancy given up to the 
Devil, almost as directly as if we were put out to 
nurse to him. 

Will. Indeed, sir, and't please you, the gentlemen 
do not think much of religion ; I fear it was always 
so ; the Scripture says, Not many rick, not many 
noble are called; and it is the poor of this world, 
that are rich in faith, James ii. 5. 

La. I find it so indeed, William, and I find my- 
self at a dreadful loss in this very thing ; I am con- 
vinced the happiness of man does not consist in the 
estate, pleasures, and enjoyments of life ; if so, the 
poor alone would be miserable, and the rich man 
only be blessed ; but there is something beyond 
this world, which makes up for all that is deficient 
here : this you have, and I have not ; and so, 
William, you in your poor cottage are richer and 
more happy than I am with the whole manor. 

Will. Indeed, sir, if in this world only we had 
hope, the poor would be of all men the most miser- 
able ; blessed be the Lord, that our portion is not 
in this life. But, sir, and't please you, I hope you 
will not discourage yourself neither ; for God has 
not chosen the poor only ; rich men have tempta- 
tions from the world, and hindrances very many, 
and it is hard for them to enter into the kingdom of 
heaven, but they are not shut out ; the gate is not 
barred upon them because they are rich. 

La. I know not how it is, William, nor which 
way to begin ; but I see so many obstructions in 
the work, that I doubt I shall never get over it. 

Will. Do not say so, I beseech you, sir, and't 
please you ; the promise is made to all ; and if God 
has given you a heart to seek him, he will meet you 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



65 



and bless you, for he has said, Their hearts shall 
live that seek the Lord. Many great and rich men 
have been good men : we read of good kings, and 
good princes ; and if your difficulties are great, you 
have great encouragements ; for you that are great 
men, have great opportunities to honour God, and 
do good to his church ; poor men are denied these 
encouragements ; we can only sit still, and be 
patient under the weight of our sorrows, and our 
poverty, and look for his blessing, which alone 
makes rich, and adds no sorrow to it. 

La. But tell me, William, what is the first step 
such a poor uneducated thing as I am should take ? 
I see a beauty in religion, which I cannot reach : I 
see the happiness which thou enjoyest, William, in 
an humble, religious, correct life ; I would give all 
my estate to be in thy condition ; I would labour at 
the hedge and the ditch, as thou dost, could I have 
the same peace within, and be as thankful, and have 
such an entire "confidence in God as thou hast ; I 
see the happiness of it, but nothing of the way how 
to obtain it. 

Will. Alas ! sir, and't please you, you do not 
know my condition ; I am a poor disconsolate 
creature ; I am sometimes so lost, so dark, so over- 
whelmed with my condition, and with my distresses, 
that I am tempted to fear God has forgotten to be 
gracious ; that I am cast off, and left to sink under 
my own burden : I am so unworthy, so forgetful of 
my duty, so easily let go my hold, and cast off my 
confidence, that I fear often I shall despair. 

La. And what do you do then, William ? 

Will. Alas ! sir, I go mourning many a day, and 
waking many a night; but I bless the Lord, I 
always mourn after him ; I always cleave to him ; I 
am not tempted to run from him ; I know I am un- 
done, if I seek comfort in any other : Alas ! whither 

R. C. P 



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else shall I go? I cry night and day, Return, 
return, 0 father ! and resolve to lie at his foot ; 
and that, if he slay me, yet I will trust in him : and 
blessed be the God of my hope, he does send 
comfort and peace, though sometimes it is very long. 

La. Well, William, and this is a disconsolate 
condition ? Would you change your condition with 
me that am the rich glutton ? 

Will. O do not say so of yourself, and't please 
you ; God has touched your worship's heart, I per- 
ceive, with an earnest desire after him ; you have a 
gracious promise, that would greatly encourage 
you, if you would but take it to yourself. 

La. Encourage me, William ! that's impossible : 
what can encourage me ? What promise is it you 
talk of, that looks towards me ? 

Will. Why, and't please you, I heard you say 
you would change your condition with such a poor 
wretch as I ; you would labour at the hedge and 
the ditch, to have the knowledge of God and reli- 
gion, and to be able to be thankful to him, and 
have a confidence in him : this implies that you 
have a longing earnest desire after him, and after 
the knowledge of his truth. 

La. Indeed, that is true, William. 

Will. Then there are many comforting Scrip- 
tures, which speak directly to you, sir, viz., Blessed 
are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, 
for they shall be filled : The longing soul shall be 
satisfied: He will satisfy the desires of all those 
that fear him ; and the like. 

La. But what must I do ? Which is the way an 
ignorant wretch must take ? 

Will. Sir, and't please you, the way is plain : we 
must pray to him ; prayer is the first duty, and 
prayer is the greatest privilege we can enjoy in the 
world. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 67 

La. Ay, William ; but there is a great deal re- 
quired in prayer, that I am an utter stranger to : I 
never prayed in my life ; no, nor, I believe, my 
father or grandfather before me, William : I came 
of a cursed race, William, and, I doubt, 'tis entailed 
upon the family, like the estate. 

Will. O, sir, do not say that : the Scripture is 
plain, and't please you, that the children shall not 
be punished for the father's transgression. 

La. But then, certainly, they must not tread in 
their father's steps, as I do exactly, William. 

Will. That's true, indeed, sir, they must not 
tread in those steps. 

La. But what dost talk, then, of prayer being the 
first duty ? why, if that be the first thing, I must 
not begin ; for how can such a creature as I pray to 
God? 

Will. As the Spirit of God will assist those whose 
hearts are towards him, so we must pray that we 
may be taught to pray. 

La. Is it not a difficult thing for a man to pray 
to God, William, that scarce ever thought of God in 
all his life ? 

Will. Well, sir ; but who do you think put those 
thoughts into your mind which you now have ? and 
who opened your eyes, sir, to see a beauty in reli- 
gion, as now you see ? and touched your heart with 
such an earnest desire after the ways and things of 
God, as you now expressly say you have ? do you 
think this is not of God, and't please you ? 

La. Indeed, William, I know not ; it would be a 
very delightful thing to me if I thought it was so. 

Will. Without question, sir, it is : man can have 
no such power ; nature prompts us to evil thoughts, 
and evil desires, and to them only; the imagina- 
tion of the thoughts of our hearts are evil, and only 
evil; if there are any good motions or heavenly 

f 2 



68 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



desires in the heart, they are from God : every 
good gift, and every perfect gift, comes down from 
above; 'tis his power works them, his invisible 
grace forms all holy desires in the soul. 

La. Well ; and what do you infer from thence, 
William ? 

Will. Why, sir, and't please you, if God has 
begun a good work, he will perfect it ; if he has 
turned your face towards him, he will lift up your 
heart to him : to pray to God is as natural to a con- 
vert, as to cry after the father or mother is to an 
infant. 

La. Thou speakest, William, with more clearness 
than ever I heard before ; but 'tis a strange thing 
to me to talk of praying to God ! I pray ! that ex- 
cept just the common road of going to church, can- 
not say that ever I kneeled down to pray to God 
once in all my life : how shall I pray ? 

Will. That's sad, indeed, and't please you ; I am 
sorry to hear your worship say so : does any creature 
live, and not pray to God ! O dear ! that's a sad, 
dreadful thing, in truth ! But, however, sir, do not 
let that hinder you now. 

La. How dost mean hinder me ? what can be 
said to hinder me doing what I have no knowledge 
in, no notion of, no inclination to ? 

Will. O, sir, and't please you, you mistake your 
own condition very much : do not discourage your- 
self thus ; you know how to pray better than many 
that make much noise with their devotion, 1 see it 
plainly. 

La. I pray ! William ; I pray ! I tell thee, I 
never prayed in my life, as I know of. 

Will. And't please your worship not to be angry 
w 7 ith me for my plain way 

La. Pry thee, William, be plain, and speak freely; 
don't worship me and sir me now ; talk to me as if 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



69 



I were your neighbour or comrade ; these are not 
things to talk of with cringes and bows : I am 
a wretched, contemptible, poor, rich man ; thou art 
a poor, rich, happy Christian. Talk plainly to me, 
William, the coarser the better, I like it best ; there 
will be no difference, William, between thee and I 
hereafter, but what will be on thy side : tell me, 
therefore, what you mean, William, by my pray- 
ing ! 

Will. Why, sir, you allow me to be plain then ; 
I say, you mistake your own condition, and thereby 
put off the comfort you might receive ; I say, you 
do pray, and know better how to pray, than many 
that come to church and appear as if they prayed 
every day. 

La. You must explain yourself, William, I do not 
understand you. 

Will. Why, sir, those earnest desires you have 
after the knowledge of God, and after the true wor- 
ship of God, which is the sum of religion, I say, 
those earnest desires are really prayers in their own 
nature ; sincere wishes of the heart for grace, are 
prayers to God for grace ; prayer itself is nothing 
but those wishes and desires put into words, and 
the first is the essential part ; for there may be 
words used without the desire, and that is no 
prayer, but a mockery of God ; but the desires of 
the heart may be prayers, even without the words. 

La. You surprise me a little, William. 

Will. Besides, sir, and ; t please you, those earnest 
desires you have after religion, and after the know- 
ledge of God, will force you to pray, first or last, in 
a verbal prayer ; they will break out like a flame 
that cannot be withheld ; your heart will pray when 
you know not of it : praying to God, sir, is the first 
thing a sense of religion dictates, as a child crieth 
as soon as it is born. 



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La. Alas ! William, I know nothing of it ; I am 
such an unaccountable wretch, God knows, I know 
nothing what belongs to praying, not I ; thou hast 
let me see further into it, by that thou saidst just 
now, than ever I saw or heard before. 

Will. Why, look ye now, and't please you, I told 
you it would break out when you knew not of it, 
and you would pray to God before you were aware : 
did you not pray just now ? 

La. Pray ! why, what did I say ? I said I know 
nothing of prayer. 

Will. Nay, that was not all : what is the meaning 
of those words, Alas, William ! and whence came 
that sigh when you called yourself that hard name ? 
and what was the sense of your soul but this, God 
be merciful to me, and teach me to pray ; for, alas ! 
I know nothing what belongs to praying : was not 
all this praying ? 

La. Indeed, William, my heart had such a kind 
of meaning ; but I cannot form the thought into 
words, no, not into my very soul. 

Will. It is all one, sir : God, that moves the soul, 
certainly hears his own motion ; how should he but 
hear it ? is it not his own working ! The prepara- 
tion of the heart, and the answer of the tongue, is of 
the Lord : he will hear every sincere desire which 
he forms in your soul, whether it be conceived into 
words or no ; for it is the voice of his own spirit and 
grace. 

La. Thou art a comforting preacher, William ; I 
don't wonder you enjoy such a shining beam of light 
in your own soul, when you have such a sense of 
things as this : you shall be my instructor, William; 
I may call you father rather ; for thou art better to 
me than ten fathers. 

Will. O, sir, and't please you, my discomforts are 
very great, and the beam you speak of is very dim 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



71 



in me ; do not speak of such things of me, it makes 
me very sad, for I know my own darkness : I am a 
poor despised creature. 

La. Well, but God may make you an instrument 
of good to me, or to any one he pleases : I never 
had thus much instruction in my life, William ; you 
will not be backward to do good, I hope, if it be 
thus cast in your way. 

Will. I shall be very glad, if such a worm as I 
am should be an instrument in God's hand to com- 
fort or inform your worship, and shall praise God 
for the occasion as long as I live ; and indeed I re- 
joice, and't please you, to see your worship inquiring 
after these things ; I pray God increase the know- 
ledge of himself in your mind, and comfort you 
with the hope of his presence and blessing. 

La. Amen : I thank you, William. 

Will. Look you now, sir, and't please you, did you 
not pray then again ? 

La. I joined with you, William ; I don't know ; 
but if that be praying, I think I did pray. 

Will. Thus God will move your heart to pray to 
him : and I beseech your worship to read the 
Scriptures ; read them much, read them seriously, 
and pray, sir, observe this one thing, when you 
read, which I have experienced often, and very 
comfortably; and I dare say, you and everyone 
that reads the word of God, with desire of a 
blessing, will experience the like, viz., when you 
are reading, and come to any place that touches 
you, and that your mind is affected with, you shall 
find, even whether you will or no, your heart will 
every now and then lift itself up thus, Lord ! make 
good this word to me ! Lord ! draw my heart thus 
to thee ! Lord ! help me thus to seek thee, and the 
like ; and be not afraid to call that praying ; for 
mental petition is prayer as well as words ; and is, 



72 



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perhaps, the best moved prayer, and the best ex- 
pressed in the world. 

La. You will persuade me, William, that I both 
have prayed already, and shall again, whether I will 
or no, and whether I know anything of it or no, and 
that I want no teaching. 

Will. Pray, sir, does a child want to be taught to 
cry ? 

La. Will that simile hold, William ? 

Will. Indeed it will, sir : read the Scripture ; if 
God's word reaches your heart, you will not need to 
be taught to pray. 

La. I told you William, you hardly knew who 
you were talking to : you talk of my reading the 
Scripture ; why, I'll tell thee, William, I ha'n't a 
Bible in the world, and never had one in my life : 
there's the manor-house yonder ; I question whether 
God was ever prayed to in it, or his name ever 
mentioned there, except profanely, or perhaps to 
swear by it, since 'twas built: why you know as 
well as I, what a family it was that lived in it when 
my father purchased it ; they were as much stran- 
gers to religion, William, as thou art to Greek and 
Hebrew ; and ours were but little better, that came 
after them. 

Will. I fear indeed, and't please your worship, it 
was so : poor gentlemen ! they lived badly indeed, 
very badly. Alas ! gentlemen must not be told of it 
by us poor men ; but they were a sad wicked family, 
I remember it well. 

La. But, William, thou canst lend me a Bible, 
can'st thou not ? and I'll read it all over while I stay 
in the country. 

Will. Yes, and't please your worship, I'll lend you 
a Bible : I'll bring it in the morning. 

La. Do, William, and come and stay with me to- 
morrow ; I'll make thee amends for thy day's work, 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



73 



and there's something for thy good advice, and 
coming so far with me. 

(He gives him some money, and sends him back 
again.) 

Will. Thank your worship. 

They were now come to the manor-house, and he 
was loath to detain him, because it was late, and 
because he was so affected with the discourse 
they had had that he wanted very much to be 
alone. 

As soon as he came into his own house, he 
locked himself into a parlour, and began to consider 
with great seriousness all these things, and es- 
pecially what the poor man had said to him about 
praying to God ; and as his thoughts were intent 
upon the meaning of prayer, the nature of it, and 
the advantages of it, at every turn of these thoughts 
he found a secret kind of hint like a voice in him, 
not voice to him, O that I could pray ! O, if I could 
but pray as the poor man does ! How happy should 
I be, if I could but pray to God ! and the like. He 
was not aware of these movements ; they seemed to 
be wrought in his affections perfectly involuntary 
and sudden ; and they passed over without being 
noticed and observed, even by himself, till after a 
good while they returned stronger and more frequent 
upon him ; so that he not only perceived it, but 
remembered how often his heart had thrown out 
those expressions: when on a sudden the poor man's 
words came into his mind with such a force, as if 
the man himself had been there, Why this was pray- 
ing ; certainly I have been praying all this while, 
and knew it not. 

Upon this reflection, it was impossible for him to 
express, as he said afterwards, what a strange rap- 
ture of joy possessed his mind, and how his heart 



74 



RELIGI0U3 COURTSHIP. 



was turned within him ; then he fell into the same 
sacred ejaculations of another kind, viz., of admira- 
tion, praises, thanksgiving, and mere astonishment ; 
but still without speaking otherwise than a kind of 
mental voice, sounding or injecting words into his 
mind, such as these, Lord ! shall I be brought to 
pray to God! I that have never been told so much 
as how to mention his name ! I that have never 
known anything of God, or myself! or have been 
taught anything of my duty to him ! shall I be 
taught to pray ! and taught by who ! by this poor 
despicable creature, that, at another time, I would 
not have spoke to if he had made me twenty bows 
and scrapes ! His tongue then was let loose ; and 
he cried out, Blessed be God that ever I came near 
that poor man. 

He continued all that evening filled with com- 
forting reflections, and with a kind of inward peace 
and satisfaction ; which as he had never known be- 
fore, so he knew not how to describe or relate it, or 
indeed how to manage it ; in the morning he found 
the same meditation and the same lightness upon 
his spirits returned, and he remembered what the 
poor man had prayed for, for him, viz., that he 
might be comforted with the hopes of the presence 
and blessing of God, to which his heart had so 
readily said, Amen: and now he longed for the poor 
man's coming with the Bible. 

The poor man was likewise mightily affected with 
his case, considering him a young gentleman of 
such a family and fortune ; and who was so far 
above him, as that, though he was his landlord, he 
durst never offer to speak to him in his life, but 
with the greatest submission and distance ; how 
he should come to call him out, and to talk to him, 
of such things especially, and in so serious a man- 
ner. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



75 



He then reflected with a serious joy, that this 
young gentleman should be thus touched with a 
solid sense of religion and good things, for it was 
easy to see that it was not a slight or an insincere 
work upon his mind ; it rejoiced his heart, that the 
heir of the estate should be thus likely to prove a 
good man ; and it presently occurred to his thoughts 
how great a blessing such a gentleman might be to 
the country, to the poor, and to the uninstructed 
people round him ; as well by reforming their man- 
ners, and restraining their vices, as perhaps by 
bringing religion to be accepted and received among 
them by his example. 

These were some of the thoughts he came along 
with, and he prayed to God, as he walked, very 
earnestly, that he might be made an instru- 
ment to bring the soul of this gentleman to 
the knowledge of God, and to bow at the footstool 
of his Redeemer as a true penitent. 

His prayers were not in vain : prayer put up 
from such a principle, and with such a spirit, seldom 
is made in vain. 

He came to the gentleman while he was in bed ; 
for he had given orders to his servants to bring him 
up to his chamber ; there he delivered him the 
Bible, and told him he hoped he would find in it 
both encouragement and direction in the great work 
which he was going about, and that God would 
bless him, and would supply by his grace all the 
wants of early instruction, which he had so much 
complained of. 

He received the poor man with a glad heart, 
made him sit down by him, and told him God had 
made him the instrument of so much good to him, 
that he could not part with him any more while he 
stayed in the country. 

William, says he, God has made you a father to 



76 



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me, and I'll be a father to you and your family; you 
shall go no more home to that poor cottage, you 
shall have something else to be thankful to God for 
than bread and water. 

Will. And't please your worship, I have much 
more to be thankful for than that already ; but if 
God has been pleased to assist me to do you good 
in this great business of bringing such a soul as 
yours to the knowledge of himself, I shall have 
cause to praise him beyond all that ever I had 
before. 

La. Well, William, I have sent for your wife and 
children ; they shall be my care now, not yours ; 
I'll provide a house for you. 

(He gave him a house and a little farm rent free 
to live on, and made him his bailiff, and receiver 
of the rents of the manor?) 

Will. Your worship will be a father to me and 
my family, indeed, then ; I can never deserve so 
much at your hands ; and't please you, I am very 
willing to work still for my bread, I thank your 
worship. 

La. No, William, you shall never work any more 
for your bread ; you have been thankful for a little, 
William ; I heard you last night, when you were at 
prayer in your family, and giving thanks to God 
for the plenty you enjoyed. Poor William ! you do 
not know how it affected me, that never gave God 
thanks in my life ; now you shall be thankful for 
better things. 

Will. I shall be greatly bound to be thankful to 
your worship too, and't please you. 

La. No, William, do not thank me, thank God 
still. 

Will* An' your worship mend my condition, I 
fear my thankfulness to God should abate. When 
I lived so near misery and distress, it made me 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



77 



more sensible of God's goodness, in keeping me 
out of it, than I may, I doubt, when I am full. 

La. I do not think you will ever be unthankful, 
William, that could be so full of a sense of God's 
mercy, even in the extremest poverty. But come, 
William, I shall leave that ; I have ordered my 
steward both to provide for and employ you, and 
I shall say no more of that now ; but my business 
now is of another nature. And first, I must tell 
you how I have been employed since I left you 
last night. 

{Here he gave the poor man an account of him- 
self and of his reflections upon what he had said to 
him, and hoiv insensibly he had received secret com- 
fort, as above ; and he found tears run down the 
poor man's cheeks, all the while he was talking to 
him for joy.) 

Will. O sir ! give God the praise, this is all his 
own work ; and I hope your comfort shall increase 
and continue. Did I not tell you, sir, God would 
teach you to pray ! 

La. But now, William, what shall I do with this 
book? 

Will. Read it, sir, and't please you, and you will 
pray over it, whether you will or no. 

La. But I am still ignorant ; I have no minister 
near me to explain it to me. 

Will. The Spirit of God will expound his own 
word to you. 

La. Well, William, you shall be my minister. 
Come, sit down by me and read in it. 

Will. Alas ! I am a sorry creature to be a 
teacher, sir ; but, and't please you, I have turn'd 
down some places, which I thought of, to show 
your worship for your first reading. 

La. That's what I wanted, William. 

Will. And't please you, here's a text which tells 



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you what is the whole design of a written gospel; 
for what end the life of our blessed Redeemer was 
laid down, and his works and doctrine were pub- 
lished to the world ; and this seems to be the first 
thing we should know of the Scriptures, for, in- 
deed, it is the sum and substance of them. 

La. Let me see it, William. 

Will. Here it is, sir. These things are written, 
that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the 
Son of God, and that believing ye might have life 
through his name, John xx. 31. 

La. That is very comprehensive indeed, Wil- 
liam ! 

Will. And here is another passage I folded down, 
lest you should ask how you should do to believe ; 
it is in Mark ix. 24; it is the story of a man who 
brings his child to our Lord to be healed, when 
possessed of an evil spirit. Our Lord asks him, if 
he could believe: If thou canst believe, all things 
are possible to him that believeih : and v. 24, the 
father cried out with tears, Lord, I believe, help 
thou my unbelief. 

La. What do you look at me for, William. 

( William looks full in his face while he repeated 
the words.) 

Will. O sir ! I saw your very heart ; I know you 
prayed ; I know you said Amen in your very soul 
to that word. Glory be to the grace of God, and to 
the word of God for you ; the Scripture, read with 
such a heart as yours now is, will soon teach you 
all that you want to know, and all that you want 
to do. 

The poor gentleman was overcome with his 
words, and could not speak for a good while ; tears 
came out of his eyes, and at last he burst out thus : 
Lord ! what a creature have I been, that have lived 
without the teachings of the Scriptures all my days ! 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



79 



Thus far this happy poor man was made an in- 
strument to the restoring this gentleman, and 
bringing him to the knowledge of God, and to a 
sense of religion ; and, in a word, to be a most 
sincere Christian. We shall hear further of him 
after the next dialogue. 

The end of the second dialogue. 



DIALOGUE III. 

We must now go back to the family which we 
began with. The father of the young ladies was 
gone into the country to visit his sister, who was 
newly become a widow ; little thinking, whatever 
his eldest daughter had said to him, that his 
youngest daughter would make such short work 
with her lover in his absence, and that she would 
quite put an end to his courtship all at one blow, as 
she had done, before he came home again. 

He spent some little time at his sister's, to com- 
fort her, and assist her in her affairs after the loss 
of her husband ; and, particularly, because her 
eldest son being of age, and just upon marrying, 
she intended to remove ; the house which was the 
seat of the family being to be fitted up for her new 
daughter-in-law. Upon these circumstances he be- 
gan the following discourse with his sister. 

Bro. Well, pray sister, what kind of a lady has 
my nephew got ? Is he well married ? 

Sist. Truly, brother, I can hardly tell how to 
answer you that question ; I believe everybody will 
be better pleased than I. 

Bro. Why, sister, what is the cause, pray, that 
you are so difficult ? 



80 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Sist O brother! the main difficulty that has 
made me all my days the most miserable of all 
women. 

Bro. What ! religion, I warrant you ; you would 
have him married a nun ! 

Sist. Nay, I don't know why I should desire a 
religious woman to come into the family. 

Bro. I never saw the like of you, sister, you are 
always a complaining; you have had one of the 
best-humoured, goodest-conditioned, merriest fel- 
lows in the world for this five-and- twenty years, 
and yet you call yourself a miserable woman. What 
could you ask in a husband, that you had not in 
sir James ? 

Sist Dear brother, is this a time for me to tell 
you what I wanted in sir James, when he is in his 
grave? I have wanted nothing in him, that a 
woman could desire in a husband ; he was rich in 
his estate, a lovely, complete, handsome gentleman 
in his person, and held it to the last ; he was the 
best-humoured man that ever woman had, and kind, 
as a husband, to the last degree : I never saw him in 
a passion in my life ; he was a man of good sense 
and good learning; a man of honour, good breeding, 
and good manners ; none went beyond him ; all the 
country knows it, and loved him for it. 

Bro. Very well; and yet my sister a miserable 
woman ! would not any man laugh at you ? I think, 
sister, if ever you were a miserable woman, it is now ; 
because you have lost him. 

Sist Well, that's true too ; I am so now, many 
ways, and some perhaps that you do not think of, 
brother. 

Bro. I know what you mean again; I warrant 
you ha' been whining over him, to think what is be- 
come of him now : prythee what's that to you or I ? 
what can you by your concern for him do in that 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



81 



case, one way or other ; can't you leave him to God's 
mercy now he's gone ? 

Sist. Dear brother, it is in vain to answer you ; I 
must leave him to God's mercy, and so we must 
leave ourselves : but do you think 'tis not an afflict- 
ing, dreadful thing to me, that know how he lived, 
and how he died, to reflect upon his condition, if I 
had any love for him ? 

Bro. Why, how did he live? he lived like a 
gentleman, as he was. 

Sist. That's true ; and that, as times go, brother, 
is to live like a heathen ; you know well enough, 
what a life I have had with him on that only ac- 
count; you know, he was so far from having any 
sense of religion, or of his Maker, on his mind, that 
he made a jest and a mock of it all his days, even to 
the last. 

Bro. I know he did not trouble himself much 
about it. 

Sist Nay, he not only did not himself, but he did 
not really love to have anybody about him religious; 
I have known many gentlemen that have had no 
religion themselves, yet value it in others, and value 
and reverence good men ; but he thought all people 
hypocrites that talked of anything religious ; and 
could not abide to see any appearance of it in the 
house ; it was the only thing we had any difference 
about all our days. 

Bro. And I think you were a great fool to have 
any difference with him about that : could not you 
ha' kept your religion to yourself, and have let him 
alone to be as merry and as frolicsome as he would 
without it. 

Sist. Nay, I was obliged to do that, you may be 
sure ; you know it well enough. 

Bro. Yes, yes, I know he served you many a merry 
prank about your religious doings, such as putting 

r. c. g 



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every now and then a ballad in your Prayer-book or 
Psalm-book ; and I think he put the story of Tom 
Thumb once in one of Dr. Tillotson's sermons. 

Sist. No ; 'twas two leaves out of Don Quixote. 
He did a great many such things as those to me. 

Bro. But they were all frolics, there was nothing 
of passion or ill-nature in them : did not he write 
something in the children's spelling-book once, and 
make them get it without book, instead of the lesson 
you had set them ? 

Sist Yes, yes, he played me a thousand tricks that 
way. 

Bro. I think once he pasted a receipt to make a 
tanzy or a cake, just next to one of the questions of 
the catechisms, where your daughter's lesson was. 

Sist. Ay, ay ; and every now and then he would 
paste a single printed word, that he cut out of some 
other book, just over another word in the books, so 
cunningly, that they could not perceive it, and make 
them read nonsense. 

Bro. Why what harm was there in all that ? 

Sist. Why, it showed his general contempt of 
good things, and making a mock of them ; otherwise 
the thing was not of so much value. 

Bro. Well, and wherein was you miserable, pray, 
in all this ? I don't understand you in that at all. 

Sist. Why in this, that he was not at all a religi- 
ous man. 

Bro. But what was that to you, still ? 

Sist. Why, first, brother, there was all family re- 
ligion lost at one blow ; there could not be so much 
as the appearance of worshipping or acknowledging 
the God that made us ; nay, we scarce asked him 
leave to eat our meat, but in seeret, as if we were 
ashamed of it: sir James never so much as said 
grace or gave thanks at table in his life, that I 
remember. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



83 



Bro. And they that do, make it nothing but a 
ceremony, and do it for fashion sake ; not that they 
think it signifies anything. 

Sist. Well, let them do it for fashion sake then if 
they will, but let them do it ; 'tis the most rational 
thing in the world, while we own that God gives us 
our meat, that we should ask him leave to eat it, 
and thank him for it when we have done : but alas ! 
this is but a small part of the ill consequences of an 
irreligious family. 

Bro. Well, what more is there? for this is no- 
thing but what is in thousands of families, who pre- 
tend to religion on all sides. 

Sist. Why, all relative religion was lost too. 

Bro. Relative religion, sister! what do you mean 
by that ? 

Sist. Why, first, I mean by it, that religion which 
ought to be between a man and his wife ; such as 
comforting, encouraging, and directing one another, 
helping one another on in the way to heaven, assist- 
ing one another in Christian duties, praying with 
and for one another, and much more which I could 
name ; and which, without doubt, passes to their 
mutual comfort and delight between a man and his 
wife, where they are mutually agreed in worshipping 
and serving God, and walking on in the happy 
course of a religious life : all this has been lost, and 
it has been a sad loss to me, brother ; we have all 
need of helps, and it is not every one that considers, 
or indeed that knows, what help, what comfort, what 
support, a religious husband and wife are or may be 
to one another ; this, I say, has been a sad loss to me, 
I assure you. 

Bro. These are nice things; but, methinks, if 
you could not have these helps from your husband, 
you might find them in other things, such as books, 

g2 



84 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



ministers, &c. ; it need not be called such a loss 
neither. 

Sist. "Tis such a loss, brother, that if I were to 
live my days over again, I would not marry a man 
that made no profession of religion ; no ! though he 
had ten thousand pounds a year, and I had but a 
hundred pounds to my portion ; nay, I think I would 
work for my bread, rather. 

Bro. You lay a mighty stress upon these things. 

Sist. Everybody, brother, that has any sense of 
the blessing of a religious family, must do so. Pray 
if the honouring and serving God be our wisdom, 
our duty, our felicity in this world, and our way to 
the next, what comfort, what happiness can there be, 
where these are wanting in the head of the family ? 

Bro. It is better, to be sure, where they may be 
had ; but to lay all the happiness of life upon it, as 
if a man or a woman could not be religious by them- 
selves, without they were so both together, I do not 
see that ; I think you carry it too far. 

Sist. I'll convince you that I do not carry it too 
far at all ; I do not say a man or a woman may not 
be religious by themselves, though the husband or 
wife be not so ; but I say, all the help and comfort 
of relative religion is lost ; the benefit and value of 
which none knows, but they that enjoy it, or feel 
the want of it ; but there is another loss, which I 
have not named, and which my heart bleeds in the 
sense of every day. 

Bro. What's that, I wonder ? 

Sist. Why, children, brother ! children ! You see 
I have five children : what dreadful work has this 
want of family religion made among my poor 
children ! 

Bro. Why, sir James did not hinder you in- 
structing your children ! 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



85 



Sist Did he not ? 'tis true he did not, when they 
were little ; but has he not by example and want of 
restraint encouraged all manner of levity, vanity, 
folly, nay, and even vice itself in them? Do you 
think children, thus let loose to humour their young 
inclinations, and to the full swing of their pleasures, 
would not soon snatch themselves out of the arms 
of their mother, and deliver themselves from the 
importunities of one that had no other authority 
with them than that of affection ? 

Bro. Why, truly, there is something in that ; but 
I do not see that your children are much the worse ; 
there's your eldest son, sir James that is now ; he is 
a pretty young gentleman ; I hear a very good cha- 
racter of him. 

Sist. Why, truly, brother, as times go now with 
gentlemen, we may be thankful neither he nor his 
brother are debauched or vicious ; and I am thank- 
ful for it ; they have good characters for modest 
pretty gentlemen, as you say : but still, brother, the 
main thing is wanting ; I cannot be partial to them, 
though they are my own ; there is not the least 
sense or notion of religion in them ; they cannot 
say they have no knowledge of it ; I took care to 
deprive them of that excuse, as early as they knew 
anything : but it goes no further ; my eldest son 
will tell me sometimes, he has as much religion as a 
gentleman of a thousand a year should have ; and 
his brother tells me, if I would have had him have 
any religion, I should have kept our parish living 
for him, and bred him a parson. 

Bro. They are very merry with you then, I find, 
upon that subject. 

Sist It is a dreadful jest to me, brother ; I am 
far from taking it merrily ; you know, I was other- 
wise brought up ; our father and mother were an- 
other sort of people, they united their very souls in 



86 



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the work of God ; they joined in every good thing 
with the utmost affection ; they loved the souls as 
well as the bodies of us their children ; the family 
was a house of cheerful devotion : God was served 
night and day ; and, in a word, as they lived, so 
they died ; they dropped comfortably off, and went, 
as it were, hand in hand to heaven. 

Bro. And yet, sister, you see, we that were their 
children were not all alike ; there's our brother 
Jack, and our sisters, Betty and Sarah, what can be 
said about them ? Pray what religion are they of? 

Sist. I'll tell you what can be said, and what 
will stick close to them one time or other, viz., if 
they are lost, it is not for want of good instruction, 
or good example ; they cannot blame father or 
mother ; it has been all their own : parents may 
beg grace for their children, but they cannot give it 
them ; they may teach their children good things, 
but they cannot make them learn ; that is the work 
of God, and parents must submit it to him : but 
when parents do nothing ; nay, rather by example 
and encouragement, lead their children into wicked- 
ness ; what a dreadful thing is that ! 

Bro. Well, but our two sisters were not led into 
wickedness : and yet, as I said, they value religion 
as little as anybody. 

Sist. Ay, brother, I can tell you how my sisters 
were both ruined ; for they were not so educated. 

Bro. What do you mean by ruined? they are 
not ruined, I hope. 

Sist. I mean as to their principles, brother, which 
I think is the worst sort of ruin ; they were ruined 
by marrying profligate, irreligious husbands. 

Bro. I don't know what you mean by profligate ; 
I think they are both very well married. 

Sist. Yes, as you call married, and that I call 
being undone. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



87 



Bro. And pray what has rained Jack? for he's 
as graceless a wretch almost as your sir James was. 

Sist. Truly brother, just the other extreme : he 
has a wild, giddy, playhouse-bred wife ; full of wit, 
and void of grace; that never had any religion, nor 
knew what the meaning of it was ; this has ruined 
him. My brother was a sober, well-taught, well- 
inclined young man, as could be desired ; but 
getting such a tempter at his elbow, instead of a 
wife to help him on to heaven, she has led him 
hood-winked to the gates of hell, and goes cheer- 
fully along with him ; a sad instance, brother, of 
the want of family religion. 

Bro. Well, but what's all this to what we were 
upon, of parents leading their children into wicked- 
ness ? he was not led so by his parents. 

Sist But you see his children are. 

Bro. I cannot say that ; few parents, though 
they are bad themselves, will prompt their children 
to be so too : that's what I have seldom seen. 

Sist. Well, that has been the case of my family ; 
and that it is that has broke my heart, and gives 
me cause to say I have been the most miserable 
woman alive. 

Bro. But you have this comfort still, that you 
have not been the occasion of it. 

Sist. That's true ; but even that does not lessen 
the grief of seeing my children lost and ruined be- 
fore my face, and their own father be the instru- 
ment to it. 

Bro. They cannot be said to be ruined ; they are 
very fine gentlemen, I assure you. 

Sist. They are ruined, as to the best qualification 
of a gentleman. 

Bro. I warrant you they do not think so, sister*: 
religion makes us good Christians, that is confessed ; 
but I do not see it makes a gentleman. What is 



88 



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more frequent than to see religion make men cyni- 
cal and sour in their tempers, morose and surly in 
their conversation ? They think themselves above 
the practice of good manners, or good humour. 

Sist. This is all by the mistake of the thing ; 'tis 
want of religion that makes men thus. It is in 
good breeding as it is in philosophy ; a little phi- 
losophy, a little learning, makes a man an atheist ; a 
great deal brings him back, and makes him a 
Christian : so a little religion makes a man a churl, 
but a great deal teaches him to know himself, and 
be a gentleman. When good principles join with 
good manners, how should they but illustrate the 
education, and set off the breeding of a man of 
quality ? As it is a mistake to say that jewels 
should be worn by none but homely women, it is 
just the contrary ; so religion adorns education, as 
jewels give real beauty a double lustre. 

Bro. Your notions are delicate ! you are very 
nice, it seems, in these things, sister ; though I 
must confess I am of your mind, when I consider it 
well. 

Sist. Let the Scripture be judge whether the 
rules of life dictated by the apostles to the Christian 
churches were not such as not only agree well with 
that of a gentleman, but indeed with that without 
which no man can be a gentleman : if you look 
almost through all the epistles in the New Testa- 
ment, you will find it so : I'll name you a few. 

Phil. i. 9, 10. That your love may abound in 
knowledge and all judgment. — There's wisdom and 
learning. That ye may approve things that are 
excellent — There's solid judgment. That you may 
be sincere, and without offence. — There's the 
honesty and open-heartedness of a true gentle- 
man. 

1 Pet. Love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



89 



— There's the charity, the beneficence, and the 
good breeding of a gentleman. 

Col. iii. 12. Put on bowels of mercy, kindness, 
humbleness of mind, meekness, fyc. — Who can be a 
gentleman without these ? 

Col. iv. 8. Wliatsoever things are honest, just, 
pure, lovely, and of good report, think of these 
things. — What think you now ? Can the practice 
of these things dishonour a gentleman ? or do they 
honour and illustrate, and indeed make a gentle- 
man ? 

Phil. ii. 3. In lowliness of mind let each esteem 
others better than themselves. — What becomes a 
gentleman more than such humility ? 

I could name you many other : will any man 
that reads these rules say they are not suitable to a 
gentleman ? No, brother, it shall ever be a rule 
to me, that the only complete man upon earth is a 
religious gentleman. 

Bro. Why, you are wrapped up in these notions, 
sister; 1 fancy you have been documenting my 
daughter ; I am afraid on't, I assure you ; she has 
got just the same things in her noddle, and she has 
carried her scruples to such a length, that she had 
like to have refused the best match that ever will 
be offered to her as long as she lives ; but I believe 
I rattled her out of it when I came away. 

Sist. I am, perhaps, the fuller of it, because it has 
been the ruin of my family, and of my children ; 
and, I think, if ever poor woman was unhappy with 
a gentleman that had not one bad quality in him, 
it was I ; sir James, as I told you, was such a man 
for everything else, as there are few such in the 
world ; but he hated religion, and that has ruined 
us all. 

Bro. You would make any one laugh to hear you 
talk of being ruined ; why, are you not left happy, 



90 



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easy, and pleasant ? is not your eldest son a baronet, 
and has 1400/. a year? is not your second son very 
well provided for ? have not your daughters 5000/. 
apiece fortune left them ? and are not you left so 
rich, you know not what to do with it all ? 

Sist. I do not speak of ruin as you understand it, 
brother; I think a family without religion is a 
family ruined, and that in the worst sense that ruin 
can be understood in ; if I were to marry again, I 
would not marry the best duke in the nation, that 
would not endeavour to carry me to heaven, and to 
go there himself : the command of the Scripture is 
plain in it, Be not unequally yoked, 2 Cor. vi. 14 ; 
how shall a husband that professes no religion dwell 
with a wife according to knowledge ? 1 Pet. iii. 7 ; 
and what is the reason the apostle gives for this 
Christian rule in marrying, but this, That your 
prayers be not hindered f 

Bro. Why, sir James did not hinder your prayers, 
sister. 

Sist. Did he not ? sir James is in his grave, and 
'tis not my part to say what he did ; but 'tis the 
mutual prayers of husband and wife together that's 
meant in that Scripture : do you think sir James 
prayed with his wife ? 

Bro. No, I believe he did not, indeed, nor with 
anybody else. 

Sist. And do you think that's the life of a Chris- 
tian, or the manner of a Christian family, brother ? 
You and I were not bred up so, and yet our father was 
a gentleman, and wanted neither family nor fortune 
equal to any of them. Sir James is in his grave, 
and I have no more to say of that ; but if I were as 
young as I was when I married him, and were to 
choose again, I would not marry the best nobleman 
in the nation, if he was not a religious man ; all en- 
joyments in the world are nothing without it, unless 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



91 



I resolve to cast off all religion too ; and where 
would that end ! 

Bro. This is just my daughter again. 

Sist. Besides, brother, consider another thing: 
how many young women, and young men too, who 
have been religiously bred, has this way of marrying 
been a snare to ? that when they come to husbands 
with no religion, or to giddy, loose, profane wives, 
they drop all their own principles, and become 
empty of all religion too, at last : you know how it 
has been with our brothers and sisters, as I hinted 
to you before. 

Bro. There's no arguing with you, sister, who 
have had so much experience of it : but I tell my 
daughter that perhaps she may convert her hus- 
band. 

Sist I don't know my niece's case, and so I can 
say little to it ; but if this be it, that she refuses 
a man for his being of no religion, she is in the 
right ; she is a good religious child herself; my 
sister educated all your children very well ; and if 
she marries a gentleman, as the times go now, that 
thinks religion below him, and unbecoming, as most 
of them do, she is undone. 

Bro. So she says, and has just your arguments ; 
that made me say you had been documenting her. 

Sist No, indeed, brother, not I ; but I'll tell you 
what I have been ; I have been a memento to the 
family, and do not doubt but my sister might 
show them the danger of it by their aunt's example : 
I pray God they take warning ; I know she was not 
wanting to them in her instruction, and in caution- 
ing them against everything that was hurtful ; and 
if she forgot this, of cautioning them never to marry 
a man of no religion, then she was not that wise 
woman I took her for. 

Bro. I know not who has cautioned her, nor who 



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has instructed her ; but if I had not took it up very 
warmly, she had ruined herself with her nicety : I'll 
tell you how it is. 

{Here he tells her the whole story of his daughter 
and the gentleman, to the time of his coming from 
home, he not knowing what had happened since.) 

Sist. Well, brother, you will allow me to be free 
with you : I must needs say I think you are in the 
wrong. 

Bro. Yes, yes ; I expected that from you. 

Sist. I speak my experience, brother ; I would 
not force a child's inclination in such a case for the 
world. 

Bro. What do you mean by inclination? she 
forces her own inclination ; for her sister says she 
loves the gentleman, and has owned it; and yet 
upon this simple nicety she pretended to cross her- 
self, affront the gentleman, and disoblige her father. 

Sist. And will not all that convince you, then, 
that she acts by strength of judgment, and upon 
principles of conscience ? If it be as you say, it is 
the noblest resolution that ever I heard of, since 
the story of St. Catherine. 

Bro. Don't tell me of your noble resolutions, and 
your fine principles ; it is a first principle, an ori- 
ginal command of God, that children should obey 
their parents. 

Sist. Ay, brother, where the parent commands 
nothing that clashes with the laws of God ; but 
then, brother, our authority ceases. 

Bro. But I am sure this match is for her advan- 
tage, and I'll make her have him. 

Sist. That's a severe resolution, and, if it be 
against her conscience, you may fail in all you re- 
solve upon ; besides 'tis evident you ought not to 
resolve so. 

Bro. What! am not I her father? has it not 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



93 



been always the right of fathers to give their 
daughters in marriage ? nay, to bargain for them, 
even without their knowledge? did not Caleb promise 
his daughter Achsah in marriage to him that should 
smite Kirjathseper, not knowing who it should be, 
or whether the girl should like him or no ? and are 
there not many such instances in the Scripture ? 

Sist. All this is true, brother : but I dare not 
think the laws of God or man give parents that 
authority now. 

Bro. Then you allow my daughters to marry who 
they please, without putting any weight upon my 
consent one way or t'other : would you give your 
daughters that liberty ? 

Sist, No, brother, you wrong me ; but there is a 
great difference between your negative authority 
and your positive authority, in the case of a 
daughter, as there is a great difference between 
your authority in the marriage of a daughter and 
the marriage of a son. 

Bro. I know my lady sister is a nice civilian : 
pray explain yourself. 

Sist. I can take all your banters patiently, bro- 
ther, and I will explain myself, contradict me if you 
can ; I distinguish them thus : if your daughter de- 
sires to marry any person you do not like, I grant 
that you have power, by the law of God, to for- 
bid her positively ; the Scripture is plain, you have 
power to dissolve even a vow or promise of hers to 
marry or not to marry at all. But if your daughter 
is not willing to marry one you may like, I do not 
think you have the same right to command, for you 
might then command her to marry a person she 
may have an abhorrence of, and an aversion to, 
which could not be ; the very laws of matrimony 
forbid it ; she could not repeat the office of matri- 
mony at her marriage, viz., to love and honour 



94 



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him ; and to promise what she knew at the same 
time would be impossible for her to perform, would 
be to perjure herself, (for the marriage promise is a 
solemn oath,) and to deceive her husband in the 
grossest manner ; neither of which would be lawful 
for her to do. 

Bro. Well, well, for all your fine harangue, I 
have made her do it. 

Sist. Are they married then, brother ? 

Bro. No : but they shall as soon as I come 
home. 

Sist. I wish her well ; she is a child that deserves 
very well, I am sure ; she is a serious, sensible, 
religious child, and will be an extraordinary wo- 
man ; but if you force her to marry, as you say you 
will, remember my words, brother, you will make 
her miserable, as I have been. 

Bro. Yes, yes, so she will; just so miserable ; 
she will have a good husband, and about 2000/. a 
year estate ; a very miserable condition truly ! 

Sist. All that's nothing ; nor will it lessen the 
misery at all to a good woman ; I am sure she had 
better go to service, or marry a good, sober, reli- 
gious shoemaker ; and I would do so myself if I had 
my choice to make again ; therefore, I say it again, 
dear brother, remember my words ; if you do it, 
you make her miserable, and will repent it. 

Bro. Nay, nay, I am not so positive neither : I 
would not ruin my child, you may be sure ; but I 
shall see when I come home. 

Sist. Pray let me hear how it goes, when you 
come home. 

Bro. So you shall, I promise you. 

After this discourse he stayed but two or three 
days with his sister, and then went home. When 
he came home, to be sure the first question he 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



95 



asked of his eldest daughter was, how Mr. 

did, and if he was in the house. 

Da. In the house ! No, sir, I think not. 

Fa. Why do you think not ? When was he here ? 

Da. Never, sir, since the evening after you went 
away. 

Fa. Why, she has not served me so, has she? 

Da. Serv'd you, sir! Nay, it is he has served 
you so ; for he said, the last time he was here, he 
would wait on her again ; but he has never been 
here since. 

Fa. Then she must have used him very ill, I am 
sure ; he had never done so else. Where is she ? 
Call her down. 

Da. Sir, my sister is gone to my aunt 's at 

Hampstead. 

Fa. Very well : finely managed, I assure you ! 
Well, I'll manage her, and all of you, if this be the 
way I am to be used. {He is in a great passion.) 

Da. I believe there is nothing done to use you 
ill, sir, or to provoke you in the least. 

Fa. What is she gone out of the house then 
for? 

Da. Sir, you are so angry with her, when you 
talk with her, that you fright her ; I was afraid, 
last time you talked to her, you would have thrown 
her into fits: and so we really all advised her to go 
home with my aunt last week, when she was in 
town, and stay there, till w.e could see what you will 
please to have her do. 

Fa. Do ! she knows what I expected she should 
do. 

Da. As to marrying Mr. , sir, that she can 

never do ; and she has talked to him so hand- 
somely, that, sir, I assure you, he said himself he 
could not answer her objections ; that she had rea- 



96 



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sons for what she did, and he could not urge it any 
further. 

Fa. Why, did not you say he promised to come 
again ? 

Da. Yes, he did say he would wait on her again, 
but he is gone into the country I hear. 

Fa. Well, I'll say no more till he comes again then. 

Da. Nay, if he had come again, she had resolved 
she would not have seen him. 

Fa. Say you so ! I'll be as positive as she ; if she 
will see him no more, she shall see me no more, 
I'll let her know so much. 

Da. I am sorry things are so ; but I am sure 
she will never see him, if she never comes home 
more. 

Fa. I'll try that : I'll go over to Hampstead in 
the morning, I'll see what I can do with her. 

Her sister was now in as great a fright as before ; 
she knew the principle her sister went upon was 
good, and she was very loath to have her thrust by 
violence into a state of life she so abhorred ; 
and this made her take more freedom with her 
father than she would have done, and took more 
care of her sister too, lest her father should bring 
her away and marry her by force ; so she sent a 
man and a horse away the same night to Hamp- 
stead to her sister, to give her notice of her father's 
resolution to come over in the morning, and giving 
her an account of what had passed, advising her to 
be gone out of his way somewhere else. 

As the young lady had acquainted her aunt with 
the whole story, her aunt was so affected with it, 
and so abundantly justified her conduct in it, that 
upon this news, she told her she would place her 
at a friend's house a little way off, and she would 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



97 



undertake to talk to her father when he came ; and 
if she could not bring him to any reason, she 
would send her the next day into the country to her 

other aunt, the widow of sir James ; so she 

sent her away in the mean time in her own coach 
to Hen don, a village beyond Hampstead, with a 
maid and a footman to attend her, till her father 
was gone. 

In the morning, as he said he would, her father 
came to Hampstead, and as soon as he had saluted 
his sister, he asks for his daughter ; his sister told 
him she was gone a little way to visit a friend of 
hers, but desired him to sit down. 

She saw he was disturbed and uneasy: Come, 
brother, says she, be calm and moderate, and do 
not treat your child with so much warmth ; let you 
and I talk of this matter ; my niece has given me 
a full account of the whole story. 

Fa. Has she so ? But she shall give me another 
account of it, before she and I have done yet. 

Sist I find, brother, you consult your passions 
only in all this matter, and I must tell you they 
are base counsellors ; I wish you would act in cool 
blood, and consult your reason a little too. 

Bro. So I think I do, and I won't be instructed 
by my children. 

Sist No, no, brother, it is evident you act too 
violently ; if you consulted your reason, I am sure 
it would tell you that you are all wrong. Did ever 
a father hurry and terrify his children so with his 
fury and his passions that they are afraid to see 
him, and ready to swoon when they hear he is com- 
ing to them? and then do you consider what a 
child this is, that you use thus ? 

Bro. I use her ! she uses me I think ! and 
abuses me too. 

Sist. Be patient, brother, be patient ; passion, I 
r. c. h 



98 



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tell you, is an ill counsellor ; consider the circum- 
stances of your child, and hear what she has to say. 

Bro. What do you mean by hearing ? I think 
she ha'n't heard what I have to say, when she flies 
thus from place to place, as if she was a thief. 

Sist. That's because you do not act like a Chris- 
tian, brother ; you make yourself a terror to your 
children ; this dares not see you ; those at home 
dare not speak to you. Why, what do you mean, 
brother ? You did not treat them thus when they 
were little ; do you consider what they are now ? 
that they are women grown, and ought to be 
treated as such ; and deserving women too they 
are, that the world sees ; and you expose yourself 
most wretchedly to treat them thus. I am very 
free with you. 

Bro. How do I treat them ? What, to provide 
a gentleman of 2,000/. a year for the youngest, a 
handsome, complete young gentleman, as any the 
town can produce, and every way unexceptionable; 
nay, she owned herself he was one she could like 
very well ; and to have her affront him and her 
father, and to dismiss him of her own head without 
consulting me, or staying till I came to town ! and 
this after five weeks keeping him company, and when 
she knew the writings were drawn for her marriage 
settlement ; is this a decent way of treating a 
father ? I think you are free with me, indeed, to 
take their parts in it. 

Sist. Well, brother, suppose all this to be just as 
you relate it, yet if the young people could not hit 
it, do we not always, when we make proposals one 
to another for our children, make this condition, viz., 
If the young people can agree ? And do we not put 
them together to talk with one another, on purpose 
that they may be acquainted, and see whether they 
can like one another or no ? 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



99 



Bro. Well, and so did I: has he not waited 
upon her ladyship, I tell you, five weeks ? Was not 
that time enough to know whether she liked him 
or no ? 

Sist. Time enough to like or dislike, I grant it ; 
and she tells you plainly, she does not like, and 
cannot marry him: what would you have? And 
as to putting him off in your absence, she says she 
told you her mind positively before you went out of 
town, and would have given you her reasons for it ; 
but you treated her with so little temper, that she 
had no room to speak ; and at last told her you 
would have none of her reasons, but expected she 
should have him : how do you answer that pray ? 

Bro. I knew what she had to say well enough ; 
however, I gave her till my return to consider of it: 
what had she to do to turn him off without my 
knowledge, and affront a gentleman of his quality ? 
it is an insult upon her father, and a scandal to the 
whole family. 

Sist. That's all answered by what I said before, 
that she told you positively, before you went out of 
town, she would never have him, and indeed had 
resolved then to see him no more ; for what should 
a young woman keep a man company for, when she 
resolves not to have him? Whatever you may think, 
brother, it would not have been very handsome on 
her side ; besides, I can assure you, your daughters 
are none of those women that do anything unbe- 
coming. 

Bro. Why she did keep him company after it, 
for all that. 

Sist. Never but once, that she might dismiss him 
civilly, and that was merely a force of your own 
upon her, because your passion with her obliged 
her to do that work herself, which you ought to 
have done for her. 

h 2 



100 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Bro. Well, she's an undutiful, disrespectful 
creature to me ; I ha'n't been an unkind father 
to her; but I'll let her know herself my own 
way. 

Sist. You'll consider of that, brother, when your 
passion is over. 

Bro. Not I; I am no more in a passion now, 
than I was before. 

Sist. That may well be indeed; because you 
were then in such a passion, it seems, as disordered 
all your family : is passion a proper weapon to ma- 
nage children with, brother ? 

Bro. It is impossible for any man to be thus 
treated by his children, and not be in a passion ; 
ingratitude is a thing no man can bear with pa- 
tience. 

Sist. But who shall be judge between you, 
brother ? For it is possible you may be in the 
wrong as well as your children ; and take this with 
you for a rule in all such breaches, that generally 
those that are in the greatest passion, are most in 
the wrong. 

Bro. No, no ; I am sure I am not in the wrong. 

Sist. That's making yourself judge, brother; I 
think you should let some judicious, sober, impartial 
person hear your child, since you won't hear her 
yourself. 

Bro. What, do you think I'll have arbitrators be- 
tween me and my children ? 

Sist. I hope you will act the father with them, 
then, and not the madman, as (I must be plain with 
you) I think you do now. 

Bro. Yes, yes, I'll act the father with them, 
while they act the part of children with me, but no 
longer. 

Sist If God should deal so by us all, what 
v/ould become of us ? Think of that, brother, 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



101 



when you make resolutions against your own chil- 
dren ; and without just cause too. 

Bro. Why you won't pretend this is without 
cause ? 

Sist. Truly, brother, I do not see any cause you 
have to be offended with your child ; it is true, you 
brought a very fine young gentleman to court her, and 
I know you were pleased with the thoughts of such 
an alliance in your family ; his estate, his person, his 
character, were all pleasing ; but here's the case, 
your daughter has been religiously and virtuously 
educated by my sister. 

Bro. By your sister only, I suppose ; you might 
have put that in too. 

Sist. Truly, brother, I do not charge you with 
the crime of being any way concerned in the religious 
part of their education. 

Bro, Did I obstruct it, or blame her for it? I left 
them to her ; it was none of my business. 

Sist. That's a sad way of discharging your duty 
to your children, brother, in their education : but 
that's none of my business ; we will leave that now; 
they have been soberly and religiously educated, 
whoever did it : and they are very sober, religious 
young women, especially this youngest, above them 
all ; they are an honour to your family, and to the 
memory of my sister their mother. 

Bro. But none to me, I confess that. 

Sist. They will be so to you too in the end, if 
you know how to make yourself an honour to them. 

Bro. Well, I'll make them fear me, if they won't 
honour me. 

Sist. You are hardly in temper enough to talk 
to : however, let me go on ; I tell you, they have 
been so bred, and they so well answer their educa- 
tion, that they are an honour to your family ; their 
mother instilled principles of virtue, piety, and 



102 



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modesty in their minds, while they were very 
young. 

Bro. Well, I know all this. 

Sist. Pray be patient ; among the rest, this was 
one, that a religious life was the only heaven upon 
earth ; they were her very words : that honour, 
estate, religion, and all human pleasures, had no 
relish without it, and neither pointed to a future fe- 
licity, or gave any present, at least that was solid 
and valuable ; and on her death-bed she cautioned 
them never to marry any man, that did not at least 
profess to own religion, and acknowledge the God 
that made him, whatever fortunes or advantages 
might offer, as to this world. 

Bro. She might have found something else to do 
when she was just at her end, I think. 

Sist Brother, let me be free with you ; she had 
two bad examples to set before them, where the 
want of a religious husband had made two families 
very miserable, though they had everything else 
that the world could give ; and one was your own 
sister. 

Bro. And the other herself ; I understand you, 
sister. 

Sist Be that, as the sense of your own conduct 
directs you to think, brother ; that's none of my 
business ; she was my sister, and therefore I say no 
more of that. But these are all digressions : the 
young women, your daughters, thus instructed, and 
thus religiously inclined, are grown up ; you bring 
a gentleman to court one of them, who, with all the 
advantages his person and circumstances present, 
yet wants the main thing which she looks for in a 
husband ; and without which she declares she will 
not marry, no, not if a peer of the realm courted 
her : pray what have you to say to such a resolu- 
tion, that you should oppose it ? 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



103 



Bro. How does she know who is religious and 
who not ? She may be cheated soonest, where she 
expects it least. 

Sist. That's true ; and she has the more need to 
have her father's assistance to judge with, and assist 
her in her choice. 

Bro. I don't inquire into that part, not I. 

Sist. No, I perceive you don't ; she has therefore 
the more reason to look to herself. 

Bro. This gentleman may be as religious as any- 
body, for aught she knows : how can she pretend to 
know, I say, who is religious ? 

Sist. 'Tis easier to know who is not religious, than 
who is: but this gentleman has been so kind to her, 
and so honest, as to put it out of all doubt, it seems: 
for he has frankly owned to her, that, as to religion, 
he never troubled his head about it ; that 'tis a road 
he never travelled ; he makes a jest of it all, as most 
young gentlemen now-a-days do ; tells her, that his 
business is to choose a wife first, and then, perhaps, 
he may choose his religion, and the like. Is this the 
gentleman you would have your daughter marry, 
brother ? is this your care for your child ? is it for 
refusing such a man as this, that you are in a passion 
with your child ? I blush for you, brother ! I entreat 
you, consider what you are doing. 

Bro. I will never believe one word of all this ; I 
am sure it can't be true. 

Sist. I am satisfied every word of it is true, and 
you may inform yourself from your other children, 
if you think it worth your while. 

Bro. I'll believe none of them. 

Sist. Not while you are in this rage, I believe you 
will not ; for passion is as deaf as 'tis blind ; but if 
you will cool your warmth, and let your reason re- 
turn to its exercise, and to its just dominion in your 
soul, then you will hear and believe too : for when 



104 



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we are calm, and our passions laid, 'tis easy to judge 
by the very telling a story, whether it be true or no ; 
but it is not to my argument, whether it be true or 
not. 

Bro. No ! pray what is your argument then ? 

Sist. Why this, whether you are not in the wrong 
if it is true. 

Bro. In the wrong ! in what pray ? 

Sist. Why, to treat your child with such fury and 
ungoverned passion as you do. 

Bro. Why, how must children be treated, when 
they are insolent and disobedient ? 

Sist Even then, not with passion and heat, 
brother : there is no case in the world, that can 
possibly happen, which ought to make a father act 
in a passion with his own children. 

Bro. No ! how must he correct them then, when 
they do evil things ? 

Sist All with calmness and affection, brother ; 
not with rage and fury ; that is not correcting them, 
that is fighting with them ; he must pity when he 
punishes, exhort when he corrects ; he should have 
the rod in his hand, and tears in his eyes ; he is to 
be angry at their offences, but not with their per- 
sons : the nature of correction implies all this ; 'tis 
for the child's good that a parent corrects, not for 
his own pleasure ; he must be a brute that can take 
pleasure in whipping a child. 

{He sat silent here a good while, and said not a 
tvord, his conscience convincing him that she was in 
the right; at length he puts it off thus.) 

Bro. Well, I am not a correcting my children 
now; they are past that. 

Sist. Yes, yes, brother, you are correcting now 
too ; there are more ways of correction than the 
rod and the cane ; when children are grown up, the 
father's frowns are a part of correction, his just re- 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



105 



proaches are worse than blows ; and passion should 
be no more concerned in that part, than in the 
other. 

Bro. These are fine-spun notions; but what is 
all this to the case in hand ? 

Sist Why yes, 'tis all to the case in hand ; I am 
sorry there is so close an application to be made of 
it : for if we are not to be in a passion with our chil- 
dren even when we have just reason to correct them, 
and see cause to be displeased with them, sure we 
must not be in a passion with them when there is 
no cause for displeasure ; I say, displeasure, for 
cause of passion with our children there can never 
be ; all passion is a sin, and to sin because our chil- 
dren sin, can never be our duty, nor any means to 
show them theirs. 

Bro. Does not the Scripture say, Be angry and 
sin not ? 

Sist. If you would read that Scripture according 
to its genuine interpretation, it would help to con- 
vince you of all I have said : be angry, but be not in 
a passion ; to be angry may be just, as the occasion 
for it may make it necessary ; but be not immode- 
rately angry, for that is to sin, and no cause of anger 
can make that necessary ; and therefore another 
text says, Let all bitterness and wrath be put away 
from among you, Eph. iv. 1 3. These are Scriptures, 
brother, for our conduct even with strangers ; but 
when we come to talk of children, 'tis ten thousand 
times more binding ; we cannot be in a passion at 
anybody without sin ; but to be in a passion at our 
children, that's all distraction, and an abomination, 
and tends to nothing but mischief. 

Bro. You are a healing preacher, sister; I confess 
there is some weight in what you say ; but what can 
I do, when children are thus provoking ? 

Sist Do ! go home and consider the case maturely, 



106 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



and pray to God to direct you to your duty ; if you 
did that seriously, you would soon see that your 
child is not to blame, and that you are very much 
in the wrong to press her in a thing of this nature. 

Bro. Nay, nay, don't say so neither ; you may 
say I am in the wrong to be so angry, but you can- 
not say I am not very ill used ; that I am positive in. 

Sist. Let me hear you say so when with temper 
and calmness you have heard the whole case ; if you 
will not bear to hear it from your daughter herself, 
hear it from her sister ; and be composed and im- 
partial, and then I shall see you will be of another 
mind. 

Bro. I can't promise you I can have so much 
patience with them. 

Sist. Well, till you can, you can't say you are 
doing the duty of a father. 

Here the discourse ended, and he goes home 
again ; and the young lady, thinking she had some 
encouragement from this discourse to hope that he 
would be calmer with her, went home too in the 
afternoon, and took care to let her father know it, 
and see her in the house ; however, he took little 
notice of her for some time. 

The next morning he called his eldest daughter 
to him, and began another discourse with her upon 
the affair, thus : 

Come, child, says the father, now passion is a little 
over, and I am disposed, however ill I am used, to 
bear it as well as I can ; pray give me a true account 
of this foolish girl, your sister, and how she has 
managed herself since I have been gone. 

Da. What, about Mr. , sir ? 

Fa. Ay, ay ; was ever any wench so mad, to af- 
front such a gentleman as he was ! I wish he had 
pitched upon you, my dear. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



107 



Da. It is my mercy, sir, he did not; and I desire 
to be thankful for it as long as I live. 

Fa. What do you mean by that, child ? 

Da. Because I have not been forced to disoblige 
my father, or to marry against my mind, as my 
sister has been ; two things I know not which are 
most terrible to me so much as to think of. 

Fa. Why you would not have been such a fool 
to have run into these scruples too, would you ? I 
have a better opinion of your sense. 

Da. I desire your good opinion of me may always 
continue ; and therefore, sir, as I am not tried, I 
hope you will not put a question to me that 'tis not 
so proper for me to answer. 

Fa. Well, well, be easy, child, I have a religious 
man in my eye for you, I assure you ; we will have 
no need of such foolish breaches on your account. 

Da. It is time enough, sir, to talk of that. 

Fa. Well then, as to your sister : you know, when 
I left her, I charged her to entertain him till my re- 
turn, and you know what resolutions I made if she 
did not. 

Da. Dear father, you went away in a passion ; 
she had declared positively she would not have him, 
and she could not think of entertaining a gentleman 
after she had resolved not to have him ; it would 
not have been handsome : however, I did over-per- 
suade her to see him that night you went away ; in 
hopes, truly, that she might have had some oppor- 
tunity to be better satisfied in her main scruple 
about religion, and that she might have got it over : 
but, on the contrary, he made such an open decla- 
ration of his contempt of all religion, and his per- 
fect ignorance of anything about it, that I could not 
but wonder at it ; sure he must think we were a 
family of atheists, or else he did it to affront her ; 
for he could never think it could be agreeable to 



108 



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any of us : and upon this she made the same open 
declaration to him, that she could never think of 
joining herself to a man so perfectly void of princi- 
ples ; and so they parted, as it were by agreement. 

Fa. Was it so short between them then ? 

Da. No, sir, there was a great deal more ; they 
did not part with disgust at all ; I am persuaded he 
loves her entirely, and I am sure she loves him too ; 
I wish she did not. 

Fa. And is she not a double fool then, to thwart 
thus both her fortune and her fancy, and all for she 
knows not what ? Had he been a fawning hypo- 
crite, that could have talked of religion whether he 
had any or no, she would have taken him. 

Da. She would not have been easily deceived, 
sir, for she lays the whole stress of her life's welfare 
upon it ; 'tis a solid principle with her, which she 
cannot go from, and which she thinks her fancy 
and fortune, and all things in this world, ought to 
submit to. 

Fa. Well, but you say it was a long discourse ; I 
don't doubt but you have heard it all, over and 
over : pray give me as full an account of it, child, 
as you can. 

Da. Yes, sir. 

{Here she relates the whole night's discourse be- 
tween the gentleman and her sister, as it is in the 
foregoing dialogue, except only that about staying 
for him till he was grown religious.} 

Fa. Well, I think they are both fools ; he for 
being so open, and she for being so nice ; it will be 
long enough before she has such another offer, I 
dare say. 

Da. I believe that is none of her affliction, sir ; 
she's only troubled at her disobliging you, which 
she had no possibility to avoid, without oppressing 
her conscience, and making herself miserable. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



109 



Fa. I do not see that's any of her concern. 

Da. Yes, indeed, sir, it is ; and I am afraid she 
will grieve herself to death about it. 

Fa. If that had been any grief to her, she would 
not have acted as she has done. 

Da. It is a terrible case, sir, to have so many 
powerful arguments press against conscience ; I 
wonder she has been able to stand her ground 
against them, and I am sure it lies very heavy upon 
her mind. 

Fa. What do you mean by arguments pressing 
upon her conscience ? 

Da. Why, sir, to name no more, here is a gentle- 
man, who by his professed choice of her, and extra- 
ordinary proposals to her, has given undoubted 
testimony of his loving her very sincerely : in the 
next place, a splendid fortune, giving her a prospect 
of enjoying all that this world can offer : thirdly, a 
very agreeable person, and one that has by his en- 
gaging conduct, made some way into her affections ; 
so that 'tis easy to see, she not only has a respect 
for him, but really loves him ; and lastly, the dis- 
pleasure of her father, who she never disobeyed be- 
fore, and to disoblige whom is effectually to ruin 
herself for this world. Are not these, sir, pressing 
things ? 

Fa. And why do not they prevail with her then ? 
And why is she so wilful ? 

Da. Nothing but her conscience, a sense of her 
duty to God, and her own future peace, has upheld 
her resolution ; he has professed himself to be a 
man of no religion, and such a one she dares not 
marry. 

Fa. I understand nothing of it, nor do I see any 
need to pretend conscience in the case at all ; there's 
nothing of weight in it. 



110 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Da. I hope you cannot think but my sister 
would be very glad it had been otherwise. 

Fa. What need she trouble herself about his re- 
ligion ? 

Da. It is my business, sir, to give you an ac- 
count of the facts, not to enter into the argument ; 
'tis enough that one daughter has displeased you 
already. 

Fa. Well, well ; I see she is come home again : 
I have nothing to say to her ; I don't look upon her 
as any relation of mine. 

Da. If you don't abate something, sir, and show 
yourself a little tender of her, I believe you will 
soon have but two daughters to provide for ; perhaps 
not that, for I think it will break all our hearts to see 
it. 



All that his eldest daughter could say, or that 
either of his sisters in the country had said, had yet 
no effect upon him ; but he carried it so reserved to 
his daughter, that she appeared in the family as if 
she had not belonged to him, and he continued it so 
long, that it began to be very probable he would 
never alter it ; which so grieved the poor young 
lady, that she fell very sick with it, and it was 
feared she inclined to a consumption ; and being 
very ill one day, her sister, who was her fast friend 
and only comforter, desired she would go out a 
little, and take the air : so they resolved to go to 
their aunt's, at Hampstead ; the sister's design 
being to persuade her to stay two or three days 
with their aunt; in which short journey, several 
strange like adventures befel them, which will 
gradually introduce themselves in the following 
discourse, which began between them as they were 
in the coach going to Hampstead. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 1 J 1 

Dear sister, says the eldest sister, what will be- 
come of you ? Will you give way to this grief so 
much as to let it destroy you ? 

Yo. Sist. What can I do, sister? I support it as 
well as I can, but it sinks my spirits ; 'tis too heavy 
for me ; I believe it will destroy me, as you say. 

Eld. Sist. But shake it off then, sister. 

Yo. Sist. Shake it off! You talk of it as a thing 
in my power : no, no, sister, effects rarely cease till 
their causes are removed. 

Eld. Sist. Nay, you would talk philosophy; I am 
sure philosophy would cure you. 

Yo. Sist, Ay ; but I am no philosopher, I hope : 
pray how would that cure me ? 

Eld. Sist. All that I mean by philosophy is rea- 
son ; though women are not philosophers, they are 
rational creatures : I think you might reason your- 
self out of it. 

Yo. Sist. I do talk reason, when I say, grief 
having seized upon my spirits, and the cause being 
immoveable, while that remains so, the effect will 
be so too. 

Eld. Sist. It is not in my power to remove the 
cause ; but yet, I think if you would hear reason, 
you might remove the grief, which is the effect. 

Yo. Sist. And you think reasoning would do it ? 
Pray what kind of reasoning is that ? 

Eld. Sist. Why, to reason but upon the folly, the 
madness, the injustice, nay, the sin of immoderate 
grief. 

Yo. Sist. You begin warmly ; pray let's hear the 
folly of it. 

Eld. Sist. Why several things will convince you 
of its being the foolishest thing in the world : grief 
is a senseless, useless passion ; 'tis useless, because 
'tis perfectly incapable of doing any good, and only 
capable of doing evil : grief is indeed no passion, 



112 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



but a quality, a disease of the mind, which must be 
cured ; 'tis an evil spirit that must be cast out : be- 
sides, it is a senseless thing : for 'tis a means to no 
end ; it aims at nothing, seeks nothing, endeavours 
nothing, only corrodes the spirits, stagnates the 
very senses, and stupifies the soul ; and therefore 
grief was anciently represented as a viper, generated 
in the liver, and preying upon the vitals of the man : 
and when it came within a certain space of the 
heart, it had two ways to go : if it ascended, it 
quitted the hypochondriac vessels, and so possessing 
the brain, ended in madness ; if it descended, it 
possessed the blood, and ended in death. 

Yo. Sist. Pray end your reasoning, for I do not 
understand it ; go back to the point proposed, what 
must I do ? You say, shake it off : I ask, what 
must I do to shake it off ; how can I shake it off ? 

Eld. Sist. Why, divert your mind, think no more 
of him ; turn your thoughts to things that are in 
being ; this is now a thing over ; you should only 
esteem it as a history of things done in the ages 
past. 

Yo. Sist. You surprise me, sister. 

Eld. Sist. Surprise you, child ! in what? 

Yo. Sist. I am both grieved and astonished that 
you should have such mean thoughts of me as to 
think my grief is founded upon the parting with 

Mr. ; I protest to you, I am so far from having 

the least concern of that kind upon me, that it is the 
only comfortable reflection I have in the world, and 
I give God thanks from the bottom of my soul, as 
often as I think of it, that I am delivered from him. 

Eld. Sist. I believe you are sensible that it is 
better as it is ; but I know it is a great struggle be- 
tween principle and affection. 

Yo. Sist. Not at all, sister, I am over all that ; it 
did not hold me half an hour ; when my conscience 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



113 



dictated to me my real danger, the future felicity of 
my life, the commands of God, and the dying in- 
structions of my dear mother: do you think the 
little stirrings of an infant affection to the man, was 
able to struggle with such an army of convictions ? 
God forbid ! no, no ; he is to me as the most con- 
temptible fellow on earth. 

Eld. Sist. No, no, sister, you never thought him 
a contemptible fellow, I am sure ; nor is he so in 
himself. 

Yo. Sist. No, as a gentleman he is not so ; he is 
a lovely creature, and the only man in the world I 
could ever say I had any affection for. 

Eld. Sist. I know you loved him ; nay, and do 
love him still ; your face betrays you, sister : while 
your tongue named him your heart fluttered and 
your colour changed ; I could see it plain enough. 

Yo. Sist. How cruel is that now, sister ! you 
prompt the affection to revive, as if you would recall 
the temptation, and assist it in a new attack upon 
me : I allow I loved him, and, as a gentleman so 
every way agreeable, I do so still : but shall I yoke 
myself with one of God's enemies ! embrace one that 
God abhors ! Speak no more of it, I entreat you. 

Eld. Sist. That's carrying it too far : you cannot 
say who God abhors. 

Yo. Sist. I'll put it the other way, then, to stop 
your mouth : Shall I yoke myself with a practical 
atheist! embrace one that rejects God! love him 
that hates my Saviour ! 

Eld. Sist. Nay, that's too far, too : he told you 
he did not hate religion. 

Yo. Sist. You cavil, sister ; you don't argue : I'll 
give it you in Scripture words : Is he not one of 
those who say to the Almighty, Depart from us, we 
desire not the knowledge of his ways ? Did he not 

r. c. i 



114 RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 

openly say the same thing ? Is not he not only void 
of the knowledge of religion, but of any desire to 
have any knowledge of it ? 

Eld. Sist. Do not take what I said ill, sister : I 
acknowledge he is indeed such a one; but still you 
love him, sister. 

Yo. Sist. No, sister, as such I abhor him ; the 
thoughts of having been but in danger of him make 
my blood run chill in my veins : Shall I marry a 
profligate ! a man of no religion ! nay, that has the 
impudence to own it ! No, sister, 1 rejoice that I 
am delivered from him, and I never desire to see 
him more as long as I live. 

Eld. Sist. And are you really got as far above it 
as you say you are ? 

Yo. Sist. Dear sister, have not you and I often 
lamented the loss of a religious family, even in our 
own father ? the want of a religious conversation, 
the want of a father to teach, instruct, inform, and 
explain religious things to us ? have we not seen 
the dreadful life oar aunt, my father's sister, lived, 
for want of a religious husband ? and the heavenly 
life my aunt here, our mother's sister, lives, that has 
a pious, sober, religious husband and family ? and 
can you think I would ever be a wife to such an- 
other as sir James ? besides, could I bear to be tied 
to a man that could not pray to God for me, and 
would not pray to God with me ? God forbid ! the 
greatest estate and finest man in the world should 
never incline me to such a thought : I thank God 
my soul abhors it ; and 'tis the joy of my heart that 
the snare is broken. 

Eld. Sist. Why what is it then that oppresses 
your mind thus ? 

Yo. Sist. O sister ! you cannot ask me such a 
question. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



115 



Just as she said these words, came a gentleman 
on horseback, and galloped by the coach side, and 
looking into the coach, pulled off his hat to her, 
and having paid his compliments, he rode on: the 
very moment he looked in the eldest sister had 
dropped her fan in the chariot, and was stooping 
down to reach it, and so did not see him ; but when 
she got up, looking at her sister, she found her look 
very pale. 

Eld. Sist. What's the matter, sister, says she, 
(being much frighted,) an't you well? 

Yo. Sist. No, says she ; lend me your bottle. 

(She gives her a little bottle to smell to, and she 
began to come to herself.) 

Eld. Sist. What was the matter, sister ? was you 
frighted ? 

Yo. Sist. I was a little disordered. 

Eld. Sist. What was it ? did those men that rid 
by say anything to affront you ? 

Yo. Sist. One of them did : did you not see 
them ? 

Eld. Sist. No ; I heard somebody ride by, but 
my head was down, looking for my fan : why who 
was it ? 'twas not Mr. — — — , was it ? 

Yo. Sist. O yes, it was : let us go back, sister, I 
entreat you ; I am very ill. 

Eld. Sist. Why we have a long way back, and 
we are almost at Hampstead now ; we had better go 
to my aunt's, we shall be there presently. 

Yo. Sist. Well, let us, then ; bid him drive 
apace. 

Eld. Sist. Alas I there he is, a little before us. 

(She calls to the coachman to drive apace, and 
looking out of the coach, she saw the gentleman 
riding softly, ivith only two footmen, a little way off 
of the coach.) 

Y 7. Sist. If he comes again to the coach side, 

i 2 



116 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



and offers to speak, I beg of you, sister, do you an- 
swer him, for I will not speak one word to him. 

Eld. Sist. (she looks out of the coach again.) He 
is gone now a great way off. 

They soon came to their aunt's house, and went 
in, the coach standing at the door ; after they had 
been there a quarter of an hour, the gentleman, who 
knew well enough where they were, came to the 
house, and sent in their footman to tell the eldest 
sister he was there, and desired the favour to speak 
two or three words with her. 

The servants led him into the parlour, and the 
young lady came down to him in a few minutes ; he 
told her, that before he entered into any discourse 
he must assure her of two things : first, 

That his overtaking them upon the road was 
purely accidental, and without the least design, as 
she might easily be satisfied by his servants and 
baggage, for he was just setting out on a journey of 
above an hundred miles, and should not return 
under three weeks at least ; and secondly, that he 
had no design in calling in there to move anything 
to her sister concerning the old affair, but only to 
have two or three words with her relating to him- 
self. You know, sister, says he, for I must still 
give you that name of respect, upon what terms 
your sister and I parted ; and as I promised her I 
would wait on her again, and did not, I have been 
very uneasy lest she might think I showed her some 
disrespect, and that I took ill what she said to me ; 
and truly for some time so I did. She answered, 
coldly, that she believed her sister had not at all 
been dissatisfied at his not coming again. No, madam, 
says he, I believe that, by the manner of the dismiss 
she had given me ; but, however, I would not be 
rude to her, whatever she thought fit to say to me. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



117 



She returned, and with a little more concern than 
before, that she hoped, however her sister had 
thought fit not to go on with what was proposed, 
yet that she had not been rude to him. No, madam, 
says he, not rude. Sir, says she, as you had offered 
nothing to my sister but what was like yourself, 
very honourable, I am sure she does not so ill un- 
derstand herself as to offer anything unbecoming to 
you. He returned, with a very obliging way of 
speaking, that her sister understood herself perfectly 
well ; And, I assure you, says he, she understood 
my character better than I did myself. I do not 
rightly take your meaning, sir, says she; my sister 
could make no objection to your character. Madam, 
said he, you know very well upon what foundation 
your sister altered her mind, and absolutely refused 
any further treaty with me, viz., that I was a pro- 
fane, wicked, irreligious creature : the fact was 
true, I owned it to her that I neither had any know- 
ledge of religion, or desired any, for which I was a 
very great brute. 

I think you were not very sincere, sir, says she. 

O, madam, says he, I do not say I was a brute for 
owning it, but I was a brute for living in that horrid 
manner, and yet thinking that any sober woman 
could entertain a thought of having me. 

I am very sorry, said the lady, it happened so. 

I am very glad, madam, that she treated me so, 
replied he, and should love her ten thousand times 
better for it, if that be possible, than ever I did be- 
fore. 

Says she to him again, Sir, you are pleased to 
banter a little. 

No, sister, says he, I don't banter ; and my stop- 
ping to speak with you was for this reason ; I do 
not ask to speak with your sister, but I beg you will 
tell her from me very seriously, that she has been a 



118 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



better instructor to me than my father or mother, 
or all the tutors and friends I had in my life ; she 
has convinced me that I was a monster, a scandalous 
fellow, that ought to have been ashamed to pretend 
to a woman that had the least sense of her educa- 
tion, or of Him that made her : I have reason to 
give thanks to God every day I live that ever I saw 
her face, and that I had that repulse from her : tell 
her, I recommend it to her to preserve that noble, 
heavenly resolution, which she said she had taken 
up, viz., never to marry any but a religious man : 
she is undone if she breaks it ; and though I am 
never able to deserve her, yet I will always think of 
her as the mother of all that is, or ever will be, 
good in me, and value the memory of her accord- 
ingly. He waited no answer, but with all possible 
civility took his leave, and, his horses being at the 
door, took horse and went away. She waited on 
him to the door, and as he was paying his respects 
to her, sitting on his horse, he said to her, Dear 
madam, I hope you will give your sister a particular 
account of what I have said to you : she answered, 
she would not fail to do it with all the exactness 
possible. 

As soon as he was gone, she run up to her sister, 
but before she could speak to her, the youngest 
sister cried out to her, Sister, before you speak, 
do not ask me to go down ; for I will not see 
him. 

Eld. Sist. Don't be so hasty ; he did not desire to 
see you : he's gone. 
Yo. Sist. Is he gone ? 

(She observed, for all she was so warm at first, 
that when she said he did not desire to see her, she 
changed her countenance a little, and more when 
she said he was gone.} 

Eld. Sist. Truly, sister, I don't think 'tis fit you 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



119 



should see him ; I see by you, if he was to talk one 
hour with you, you'd lose all your resolution. 

Yo. Sist. Perhaps that's the reason why I resolve 
not to see him : won't you allow me to know my 
own weakness ? is it not enough that I have con- 
quered myself once ? 

Eld. Sist. Yes, I allow it ; and that you act a very 
prudent part, for I know you struggle with your own 
affections ; I do not desire to press you, and never 
did. 

Yo. Sist. I can better keep my resolution of not 
seeing him, than perhaps I might my resolution of 
not marrying him, if I saw him ; though I know I 
am ruined if I have him. 

Eld. Sist. As he is now, I don't know whether 
you would or no : there's a strange alteration in 
him. 

Yo. Sist. What do you mean by an alteration ? 

Eld. Sist. Why he is quite another man ; he 
talks like a man quite changed : you would have 
been surprised at him. 

Yo. Sist. O ! he has a mind to put that trick upon 
me : no, no, it's too late now. 

Eld. Sist. What trick do you mean ? 

Yo. Sist. O ! he told me he could play the hypo- 
crite most nicely, and was sure he could deceive 
me : but it won't do ; I am prepared for that. 

Eld. Sist. I am sure he was no hypocrite before ; 
he was too plain before ; and I do not see why you 
should say he's a hypocrite now. 

Yo. Sist. Because he told me he would be so ; he 
acknowledged he had shown more honesty than 
discretion before, and was sorry for it ; and that if 
he was to begin again he would take just the con- 
trary course. 

Eld. Sist. Well, I dare say he's no hypocrite now, 
any more than he was before. 



120 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Yo. Sist. I won't trust him. 

Eld. Sist. But you may give me leave to tell the 
substance of his discourse. 

Yo. Sist. Dear sister, do not be drawn in to lay 
snares for me ; you would not be willing to have me 
deceived : why should you assist in it ? I desire to 
hear nothing of it. 

Eld. Sist. That's very disobliging, sister, to me ; 
would I assist any man to deceive you, that have 
so much applauded your resolution not to be de- 
ceived ? 

Yo. Sist. Nay, and assisted me too in withstand- 
ing the importunities of my own affections ; or else 
I believe I had not been able to have supported 
my sense of duty ; and therefore I wonder you should 
forsake me now. 

Aunt. Child, do not press your sister to hear 
anything : I must confess her case is wonderful 
nice ; she loves the gentleman, she does not stick 
to acknowledge it ; she has great scruples on her 
thoughts about her duty to her father, and they all 
sway on the same side ; her father frights her with 
violent words and hard usage, and threatenings of 
turning her out of doors ; against all this she stands 
single, in obedience to her conscience : I think we 
should assist her. 

Eld. Sist. Dear madam, if my sister was not here 
I would say a great deal more ; I think she has 
acted the noblest part, in its kind, that any young 
body ever did ; I wish I may be able to preserve 
such a resolution, if ever it should be my case ; 
and I am sure I should be far from discouraging 
her : but what I was going to tell her was nothing 
to discourage her : I wish she would let me tell it 
you first. 

Yo. Sist. Will all my heart ; tell it my aunt : I'll 
withdraw. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



121 



(She goes out of the room, and the eldest sister 
tells her aunt what the gentleman had said.) 

Aunt. Well, niece, I do think of the two it may- 
be still better not to tell it your sister ; let us lay it 
up in our hearts ; if it be true, and he is a reformed 
man, we shall perhaps hear more of him ; if not, to 
persuade her he is really changed, is but to make 
her love him more, without knowing whether he 
ever thinks any more of her or no, and that can be 
no service to her. 

Eld. Sist. I submit, madam, to your directions, 
but then I break my promise. 

Aunt. You may find a time for that too. 

The discourse broke off here, and her aunt 
finding the young lady very ill and disturbed, 
desired her sister to leave her there for a few days, 
to tell her father how ill she was, and that we 
thought the country might divert her a little ; but 
that if he desired her to come home, she would re- 
turn whenever he pleased. Her eldest sister did so, 
but all the answer she got was, She might stay there 
for ever, if she would, he never desired to be 
troubled with her any more. 

The end of the third dialogue. 

DIALOGUE IV. 

The former dialogue having put an end to the 
courtship between the gentleman and his mistress 
for the present, and there being some interval of 
time between those things and the remaining part 
of the story, that interval is filled up with another 
little affair in the same family of still a nicer nature 
than the other, though not carried so far. 



122 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



The father had frequently discoursed these things 
with his eldest daughter, in the case of her sister, as 
is to be seen in the last dialogue, and found, by her 
discourse, that she was pretty much of her sister's 
mind, in the matter of choosing a husband : but, 
having a gentleman in his thoughts for her, who had 
the character of a very sober, religious person, he 
made no question but he should dispose his daugh- 
ter both to her satisfaction and his own. 

It was with a view to this design, that he had 
jested with her, in one of these last discourses, that 
he had a religious husband in store for her, and that 
he hoped he should give her no occasion to play 
the fool, as her sister had done. 

In consequence of this, he took occasion to tell 
her one evening after supper, that what he had 
spoken in a way of jest to her, at such a time, was 
really no jest in his own thoughts; that he had 
been spoken to by a certain gentleman, a consider- 
able merchant in the city, whose eldest son had an 
inclination to pay his respects to her ; And I assure 
you, my dear, says the father, he has the character 
of a very sober, religious gentleman ; and I am sure 
his father and mother are very good people : indeed, 
the whole family are noted for a religious family, and 
I know no family in the whole city that have a 
better character. 

She made him no answer at all, till he began 
with her again, Why are you so silent, child ? said 
her father: have you nothing to say? Methinks, 
when I look back upon the disorder which the 
obstinacy of your sister has put us all in, I would 
be glad to have every difficulty removed before- 
hand with you, and therefore I speak early, that 
if you have any objections, I may hear them, and 
not be driven afterwards to ask people pardon for 
ill usage which I have had no hand in; and I would 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



123 



have you use your freedom now, that I may take 
nothing ill from you afterwards: and thus he 
pressed her to speak. 

Daughter. I am in no haste, sir, to marry ; the 
times terrify me ; the education, the manner, the 
conduct of gentlemen is now so universally loose, 
that I think for a young woman to marry, is like a 
horse rushing into the battle ; I have not courage 
so much as to think of it. 

Father. But there are a great many sober, 
civilized young gentlemen, in the world ; 'tis hard 
to reproach them all, because many of them are 
wicked. 

Da. Sir, it is those civilized people which I 
speak of ; for even those who now pass for sober, 
are not like what it was formerly ; when you look 
narrowly among them, as they are, in the gross, ten 
rakes to one sober man, so, among the sober men 
that are called civilized men, and whose morals 
will bear any character, there are ten atheists to 
one religious man ; and, which is worse than all 
the rest, if a woman finds a religious man, it is 
three to one again, whether he agrees with her in 
principles ; and so she is in danger of being undone, 
even in the best. 

Fa. I never heard the like ! Why what are my 
daughters made of? What, is nothing good enough 
in the world for you? If you all go upon such 
niceties, I must never think any more of marrying 
any of you. 

Da. You had rather, sir, not think of it, I dare 
say, than think of seeing us miserable. 

Fa. Why there is not a man on earth can please 
you, as you have stated it. 

Da. Providence will either settle me as I would 
be settled, sir, or will, I hope, dispose you to be 



124 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



as well satisfied with my present condition, as 
lam. 

Fa. Why it seems you are gone mad further 
than your distracted sister. 

Da. I hope, sir, I am in my senses, and shall be 
kept so. 

Fa. Why it seems a religious husband won't 
please you : what is it you would have ? 

Da. I desire, sir, to live as 1 am, at least till 
something offers which is fit for me to accept. 

Fa. What do you call fit, child? What can be 
fit, in your way of talking ? 

Da. When my judgment and conscience are 
satisfied, sir, I believe my fancy will not be very 
troublesome to you : if I must marry, sir, I would 
have it be so as I may expect God's blessing, and 
my father's. 

Fa. I tell you nothing in the nation will satisfy 
your judgment and conscience, as you call it, if the 
notion you have of things be true. 

Da. Then I am very well satisfied to remain as I 
am. 

Fa. That's ungrateful to your father's care for 
you. 

Da. I am sure, sir, I would not be ungrateful, 
nor undutiful to you; but I know not what you 
would have me do. 

Fa. I would have you see this gentleman that I 
have proposed to you. 

Da. I shall submit to anything you command me, 
sir, that is not a breach of my duty to God ; I hope 
you will desire nothing of me that I cannot do with 
a quiet mind. 

Fa. Well, you may see him ; I hope that can be 
no harm. 

Da. If you will please to let me know, then, how 
far you allow me to be in my own disposal, and how 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



125 



far not ; and whether I have the liberty to refuse 
him, if I do not like him. 

Fa. Yes, if you will resolve to use your judgment, 
and not refuse him before you see him, but give 
good reasons for what you do. 

Da. I think, sir, I ought to have a negative 
voice, without being obliged to dispute my reasons 
with my father, for that's just bringing me into the 
same condition with my sister ; her reasons are 
good to her, but not to you, sir ; and so you take 
her conscience of duty to God to be a contempt of 
her duty to you : I would not be run into the same 
snare. 

Fa. You are mighty positive in your demanding 
a negative voice against your father. 

Da. But I had better know my case beforehand, 
that I may not insist upon more than is my right, 
and offend you sir, in seeming to encroach upon your 
government. 

Fa. Let me know, then, what your demand is. 

Da. Sir, I think, when you propose marrying to 
me, the discourse of portion and settlement is in 
your province, and I have nothing to do with it : 
but I think I ought to be at liberty to like or dis- 
like, receive or refuse the person, and that abso- 
lutely. 

Fa. What, without showing any reason ? 

Da. No ; I ought, without doubt, to tell my 
father my objections, and to give a due force to all 
the arguments my father may use to satisfy my 
doubts, but I ought not to be forced to like, even 
though I could not maintain my reasons. 

Fa. And you capitulate with me for this liberty, 
before you see this gentleman, do you ? 

Da. No, sir, I do not capitulate with you, but I 
hope you will, on your own accord, grant me the 
liberty which the nature of the thing calls for ; that 



126 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



if I must see the gentleman, I may have the free- 
dom to take or refuse ; if not, there is no need to 
see him ; I may be given by contract, and married 
by proxy, as the great people (fools, I should say) 
do, as well as by treaty. 

Fa. Well, well, 1 an't a going to give you, nor to 
sell you ; if you won't have him, you may let him 
alone. 

Da. That's all I desire, sir ; with this addition 
only, viz., that my father will not be displeased or 
disobliged, whether I take or leave. 

Fa. I can't promise you that, indeed, daughter. 

Da. Then I beg of you, sir, I may never see him 
at all. 

Fa. Very well ; then it shall be so ; you shall 
never see him at all : I find you are all alike ; you 
may look out for yourselves, if you will : but, it may 
be, I may'nt like your choosing any more than you 
like mine. 

(He rises up in a passion, and goes away, but 
comes in again presently.) 

Fa. I wonder what it is you would all have me do 
in such a case as this : here is a match proposed to 
your sister ; how she has treated me, you know : 
now I have a proposal to you, where the grand ob- 
jection is removed : what can you desire of a father? 

Da. Sir, I desire only, that if you think fit to dis- 
course such things as these with us, we might be 
able to speak for ourselves without discomposing 
you ; we have not a mother to stand between, and 
make our objections, and to hear our reasons. 

(She weeps, and that moves him, especially speak- 
ing of her mother.) 

Fa. Well, that's true ; it is my loss, as well as 
yours : come, let me hear, however, if you have 
any objection against the person I propose now; tell 
it me ; I'll endeavour not to be warm. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



127 



Da. I can have no objection to a man I never 
saw, or heard of ; but I think we should have a li- 
berty to refuse, sir, when we come to discourse of 
such a thing with the person ; and that is all I ask, 
and that we may not disoblige you, if we use that 
liberty ; and without that liberty, I desire you will 
be pleased never to make any proposal at all to me, 
and if ever I make one myself, I will be content to 
be denied. 

Fa. You are very positive. 

Da. It seems to be so reasonable, sir, that I can- 
not think any children can ask less, or any father 
think it is too hard ; it is the children that are to feel 
the consequences of the mistake, if there be any. 

Fa. Well, that's true ; come then, if you will talk 
with this gentleman, you shall have your liberty to 
take him or to leave him ; have you any objection 
to make beforehand ? If you have, let me know it ; 
that will prevent all occasions of disgust. 

Da. Will you please to hear me with patience, sir? 

Fa. Yes, I will, if I can. 

Da. You have heard so much said by me, sir, in 
my sister's behalf, that you must necessarily believe 
I am of the same opinion ; that is to say, that I 
would not marry a man that made no profession of 
religion, upon any account whatsoever, were his 
estate, his person, his sobriety, his qualifications, 
ever so inviting. I need not give reasons for this, 
sir ; what I have said, what my sister and my aunts 
have said on that account, is enough ; but it is my 
misfortune, sir, to have another scruple beyond all 
this, and which the case of my sister gave no occa- 
sion to mention. 

Fa. Very well ; then you intend to be more 
troublesome than your sister, I find. 

Da. I hope not, sir, because I give my scruples 
in beforehand ; and if anything offers to you abroad, 



128 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



that will shock the foundation I lay down, I hope 
you'll not hearken to it on my account, and then 
you will have no occasion to say I am troublesome. 

Fa. Well, let's hear it, however. 

Da. Why, sir, as I will never marry any man 
who does not make some profession of religion, 
however rich and agreeable, handsome or sober, he 
is ; so, however serious or religious he is, T will 
never marry any man, whose principles, opinion, 
and way of worship, shall not agree with my own. 

Fa. And is that your resolution ? 

Da. I hope it is well grounded, sir, and that you 
will not disapprove my reasons for it, when you 
please to hear them calmly, and to bear with my 
mean way of arguing them. 

Fa. I think I was much in the right to say you 
would be more troublesome than your sister ; how- 
ever, you do your sister some kindness in it, for 
this extravagant humour makes hers look a thou- 
sand times more reasonable than it did before. 

Da. That's what I foresaw, sir ; viz., that I shall 
remove your displeasure from my sister, and bring 
it down upon myself; but I cannot help it. 

Fa. Well, I shall relieve myself against all your 
humours ; I'll talk no more of settling any of you 
till your curiosity is abated. 

Though her father seemed to give it over thus in 
discourse with his daughter, yet he had gone further 
with the gentleman that made the proposal than he 
had told her ; and had invited the father and mother 
to dinner the next day, with an intent that they 
should see and be acquainted with his daughters ; 
supposing, at the same time, that they would bring 
the young gentleman with them. 

They came to dinner accordingly ; but, as the 
father knew well enough, that the education of their 



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129 



son was in a different way from that of his daughter, 
and that she had declared herself so positively in 
that part, he had desired them privately not to bring 
their son to dinner. When they were come, and be- 
fore his daughter was called in, the father told them 
how the case stood between him and his eldest 
daughter, and that he saw no remedy but this ; 
that, as he had not told her anything of the design 
of this invitation, or that they were the family he 
had designed her a husband out of; so, if they 
thought fit to turn their eyes to his second daugh- 
ter, he was in hopes she would have more wit than 
to run into the ridiculous scruples of the eldest. 
They presently agreed, that it was not at all reason- 
able to force the inclination of the young lady ; that 
they saw no room to bring the opinions in religion 
together, in their children, their opinions at that 
time differing extremely, and their son being as 
positive, they believed, as his daughter : so they 
said, With all their hearts ; if their son could fancy 
the second daughter as well, it should be the same 
thing to them. However, the mother of the young 
gentleman asked him if he would give her leave to 
enter into discourse with his daughter upon the 
subject of her scruples ? He told her, With all his 
heart, for he would be glad to have her change her 
mind ; because, as, on the one hand, he should be 
very well satisfied to bring them together, so he 
really thought her notions were empty and simple, 
and should be glad she was made wiser ; But then, 
madam, says he, you must not discover the real 
design, for if you do, she will be backward to speak 
freely. She agreed to that, and so this private dis- 
course ended ; and his daughters being introduced, 
and the usual ceremonies passed, they went to din- 
ner, the young ladies knowing nothing of the design 
of their being invited. 



130 



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The father and mother were charmed at the con- 
duct of the young woman ; her person and manner, 
the modesty of her behaviour, and, above all, the 
politeness and pertinence of her discourse : and, 
something happening to be said about marrying, the 
father falls to rallying his daughters upon their 
nicety in that point, that nothing would serve them 

but religious men ; There's my daughter , 

says he, (pointing to his youngest,) I think nothing 
will do for her but a parson : she refused a gentle- 
man of 2,000/. a year, t'other day, because he was 
not religious enough for her. 

No, madam, says his daughter, my father means, 
because he had no religion at all ; hardly so much 
as a coach-horse ; for a coach-horse often knows the 
way to the church-door. 

That alters the case quite, said madam : why, sir, 
says she, you would not have married your daughter 
to a brute ! a man without religion is a worse brute 
than a horse! for the horse obeys the dictates 
of nature, but an atheist acts against reason, nature, 
and common sense. I would not marry a child of 
mine to a man of no religion, if he had ten thou- 
sand pounds a year. 

Well, says he, there's my daughter , (point- 
ing to his eldest,) she goes further ; she is not satis- 
fied with a religious husband, but she must have one 
of her own opinion in religion, that goes to church 
where she goes to church, and worships just as she 
worships : I don't think she will ever be pleased 
while she lives. 

Madam, says the eldest, I expected my father would 
be upon my bones next ; my father talks of my opi- 
nion, as if I was something that nobody else is ; as 
if I was one of the new prophets, or of some strange 
singular opinion, something monstrous in religion : 
all I say is, that, as I profess nothing but what I 



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131 



think is right, and what thousands agree with me in, 
if ever I do marry, as I suppose I never shall, why 
should I not choose to have my husband and I of 
the same opinion, that we may serve God together? 

Madam, says the old lady, your father does but 
jest with you ; he can never oppose so reasonable a 
thing as that ; I must confess, 1 think it is much to 
be desired ; I will not say but there is a possibility 
of doing well without it ; it may not be a sin ; but 
I own it is better, if it can be so. 

I am sure 'twould be a sin in me, says the daughter, 
because it would be against my conscience. 

Nay madam, says the other, that's true ; and you 
are very much in the right to insist upon it, if it be 
so ; and no doubt, your father will be far from of- 
fering anything that may seem to be a violence upon 
your conscience. 

I offer violence, madam ! says the father ; nay, 
they are above that ; they take upon them to say, I 
will, and I won't, to their father ; I assure you they 
are past my offering violence to them. 

In nothing, madam, but this crabbed business of 
marrying, says the daughter, and there indeed we 
do take some liberty with my father. 

Well, sir, says the old lady, you must allow liberty 
there ; marriage is a case for life, and must be well 
considered ; and the young ladies are to bear it, fall 
it how it will, you know, for better or worse ; they 
had need be allowed some liberty there. 

Besides madam, says the youngest, all the liberty 
we take is in negatives only ; we don't offer to take 
anybody that my father don't like, only we don't 
care to take such as we don't like ourselves. 

The old gentleman then put in : Upon my word, 
sir, says he, I think your daughters are in the right ; 
for certainly, though we may refuse to let them 
marry where they may choose, yet I can't think we 

k 2 



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should deny them the liberty to refuse what we may 
offer ; or else we may as well give them in marriage, 
as was done in old days, and never let them see one 
another. 

The eldest sister turned her head towards her 
father at this, but said nothing. 

I understand you, Betty, says her father ; but she 
said nothing still ; and the old lady, finding the dis- 
course pinched a little hard, begun some other talk, 
and soon after, the men withdrawing, left the ladies 
together. 

When the men were gone ; Hark ye, says the old 
gentlewoman, I was willing to break off the dis- 
course just now, because I was afraid it was offensive 
to your father ; but pray let us talk a little more to 
you, madam ; I fully approve the resolution of your 
youngest sister, but methinks yours is a little uncha- 
ritable, (speaking to the eldest.) 

Eld. Sist. I was very much obliged to you, ma- 
dam, for breaking off the discourse ; for my father is 
passionate, and is sometimes so out of temper with 
us upon these points, that we are greatly grieved at 
it, and particularly that he will not give us leave to 
speak. 

Yo. Sist. I am sure it has almost broke my heart. 

Old Lady. I am very sorry for it ; for indeed I 
think yours is nothing but what every woman that 
is a Christian ought to think herself obliged to : 
What dreadful doings must there be, when a religi- 
ous woman marries a wretch that is a despiser of 
God ! A Christian to be linked to an infidel ! One 
that serves God to be joined to one of God's enemies! 
and then to love such a man too ! the very thought 
is enough to fill one with confusion ! take it which 
way you will, it is equally dismal. First, to be 
married to him, and not love him, that's a hell upon 
earth ! and to love him ! one that we must reflect 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



133 



on as a limb of the Devil ! a son of perdition ! to 
embrace one that God abhors ! to have the affections 
bound to one that God hates ! what contradictions 
are these ! what horror must fill the soul while they 
live ! and what dreadful thoughts must crowd into 
one's mind, if such a man should come to die before 
us ! Dear young lady, says she, you are happy that 
you could defend yourself against such a proposal. 

Eld. Sist. But, madam, your charge upon me is a 
little hard ; I think the arguments are as strong 
almost on my part as my sister's, though they are of 
another nature. 

Old La. No, I can't say so, madam ; it is true, 
there is something to be said in your case, but no- 
thing so essential as in the other ; and, I said, me- 
thinks it looks as if you wanted charity: I hope, 
child, you do not think all opinions but your own 
are fatal to be professed. 

Eld. Sist. No, madam, not at all : I hope there 
are good people of all persuasions ; but if I did not 
think my own best, how could I answer the cleaving 
to it myself? 

Old La. So far you are right. 

Eld. Sist. Then, madam, though in charity I 
ought to allow others to be good Christians, and that 
I should and do keep up a friendly correspondence 
with many who dissent from my judgment in religi- 
ous matters, yet there is a great deal of difference 
between charity to them, and union with them. 

Old La. You have studied the point thoroughly, 
I perceive ; I understand you perfectly ; pray go on. 

Eld. Sist. Madam, in discourse with my father, I 
could never use any freedom, or obtain leave to 
propose my scruples, with the reasons of them : but 
I hope you will allow me liberty. 

Old La. With all my heart, madam, for I am 
glad to enter into so curious a debate with you. 



134 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Eld. Sist. Religion, madam, without-doors, is one 
thing, religion within-doors is another ; in the town 
among my acquaintance, and in the neighbourhood, 
a due charity to every one is what I think the Chris- 
tian principle calls for, and I converse freely with 
good people of every opinion, extending charity to 
all in lowliness of mind, esteeming every one better 
than myself ; but within-doors the case alters ; 
family religion is a sociable thing, and God should 
be worshipped there with one heart, and with one 
voice : there can be no separation there, without a 
dreadful breach both of charity and duty. 

Old La. You start a new thing to me, indeed, 
and it is somewhat surprising. 

Eld. Sist. It may be true, madam, that there may 
be divers opinions in a nation, without breach of 
charity ; but I believe it is impossible it should be 
so in a family, without breach of affection : what 
union, what oneness of desires, what perfect agree- 
ment (without which a man and wife can never be 
said to discharge the duty of their relation) can 
there be where there is a diversity of worship, a 
clashing of opinions, and an opposition of principles? 

Old La. But, child, you carry it too high ; if 
they differ in principles, indeed, there is something 
to be said ; but we are talking of a difference in 
opinion only, where the fundamentals may be the 
same. 

Eld. Sist. Madam, I recall the word principles, 
then, and join with you to confine it to opinion only; 
but 'tis the same thing in its proportion ; the union 
can never be perfect while the differing sentiments 
of things leave room for disputes between them : for 
example, madam ; the differing forms of worship ; 
one will pray by a book only, the other without a 
book wholly ; this is as light a difference as can be 
spoken of: but how shall God be worshipped with 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



135 



the united voice and affections of the whole family, 
even in this case ? what helps will two such rela- 
tions be to one another in praying to God, either by 
themselves, or with their families ? 

Old La. Upon my word, you sensibly affect me 
now with it. 

Eld. Sist. It is not enough, madam, that they, 
being sincerely religious apart, shall worship God 
in their own separate way, though better so than 
not at all ; but the zeal, the affection, the uniting 
their hearts in their worship, their praying with and 
for one another, this, alas ! is all lost. Then say it 
be in the public worship ; there they may make a 
woful separation ; God, that has made them one, 
is served by them as two ; God has joined them to- 
gether, and they part asunder in their serving him ; 
God has made them one, and yet they cannot wor- 
ship him as one : how does this consist, madam ? 
Old La. I see you are full of it. 
Eld. Sist. In their public worship, sacraments, 
&c, neither one heart or one voice goes with their 
worship : though they communicate in the same 
ordinance, they set up two altars ; one worships 
here, and one there ; and though their faces are 
both set heavenwards, perhaps they turn back to 
back as soon as they go out of their doors to the 
public worship of God. 

Old La. You are very clear in it, indeed, madam. 
Eld. Sist. This is not all, madam ; there are 
several family circumstances besides these, which 
make an union of opinion absolutely necessary : as 
first, family worship is a thing without which, fa- 
milies, however privately and separately devout, 
are coupled with heathens, Jer. x. 25, Pour out thy 
wrath upon the heathen, and upon the families which 
call not upon thy name: whatever there may in 
public worship, there should always be an exact har- 



136 



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mony in private ; and how can this be, where either 
of them dissents from the manner? If there is a 
discord in the manner, there can be no concord in 
the performance, no union in the affections ; in a 
word, their prayers will be hindered, and who would 
be thus unequally yoked ? 

Old La. I expected you would name that Scrip- 
ture, though it is certain that was spoken principally 
to those who married with unbelievers, which is a 
different case. 

Eld. Sist. Well, madam, but to come to another 
case : suppose the husband and wife we are speak- 
ing of have children, what foundation of eternal 
schism is there in the family ! some of the children 
adhere to the father, some to the mother ; some 
worship in this mount, and some nowhere but at 
Jerusalem ; some go with the father, some with the 
mother; some kneel down with the father, some with 
the mother ; till, as they grow up, they really learn 
not to kneel down at all : family education, united 
instruction, caution, example, they are all dreadfully 
mangled and divided, till in the end they come to 
nothing, and the children grow out of government, 
past instruction, and are all lost. These, madam, are 
some of the reasons I would have given my father, 
(if he would have had patience with me,) why, in his 
late proposal he had to make, I desired that I might 
be at liberty to choose by my own principles, and 
not at random, as too many do. 

Old La. But, madam, do you not allow that if 
both parties are sincerely pious and religious they 
may make allowances to one another, and make 
conscience of hindering and pulling back one an- 
other in the duties of religion ? 

Eld. Sist. Truly, madam, as to that, two things 
offer to my view, for I have often considered them 
both: first, the more sincere in religion either of 



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137 



them are, the more fixed in principle and opinion 
it is likely they will be, and the further from making 
abatements to one another; and especially, secondly, 
in the great article of educating and instructing 
their children ; for what tender mother, that having 
fixed her opinion, as she thinks, in the best manner 
and way, could bear not to have her children 
brought up in the same sentiments of religion, 
which she thinks most agreeable to the revealed 
will of God ? and the more conscientious and reli- 
gious she was, the more steadily she would cleave 
to it as her duty ; and the like of the man ; so that 
here would be a constant heart-burning and uneasi- 
ness. 

Old La. Truly, madam, I think your reasons 
good, and you guard them so well, with such self- 
evident conclusions, that I cannot think your father 
can desire you to break through them : if you think 
it will be for your service, 111 mention it again to him. 

Eld. Sist. If you do, madam, I desire to be ab- 
sent ; for he will not bear it from me. 

Old La. Let me alone for that. 

When the old lady had done this conversation 
she began to call for her husband and the father ; 
so the young ladies withdrew : when she was come 
to them she applied herself to the father and her 
husband in a few words. 

Wife. Upon my word, says she to her husband, 
the young lady has more religion in her than all of 
us, and a clearer sight into the particular parts of a 
religious life than any that ever I met with before. 

Fa. Why, says the father, have you had a battle 
with my Betty ? 

Wife. No, upon my word, we have had no battles ; 
I have not been able to open my mouth against one 
word she says : she is able to run down a whole 



138 



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society of doctors in these points ; I am a perfect 
convert to all she says ; and though I wish, from my 
soul, my son had such a wife, yet I would not for 
the world they should come together at the price of 
putting the least violence upon such noble prin- 
ciples, so solidly established, and so firmly adhered 
to ; and I defy all mankind to confute her. 

Hus. You prompt my curiosity; I wish you could 
tell us a little of the story. 

Wife. A little ! I can easily repeat it to you ; 
'tis impossible I should forget it: but, it may be, 
you, sir, (turning to the father,) may not care to 
hear it. 

Fa. Yes, yes ; I would very willingly hear it, 
though I did not care to hear it from her. 
Wife. Well, then 

{Here she gives them a full account of all the dis- 
course above.) 

Hus. I never heard anything more solid, and in- 
timating a thorough sense of religion, in my life ; I 
wish my son and she were both of the same opinion, 
then, for a woman of such principles can never be 
fatally mistaken in opinion. 

Fa. I confess I would never give her an oppor- 
tunity to explain herself thus with me; but I assure 
you I am so moved with it, that I will never offer 
to impose upon her again. 

Wife. Then you see, sir, it was an error to be so 
angry with your child as not to hear her ; I fear 
you have done so with both of them. 

Fa. Truly, I have ; but I say now I have been 
wrong to them both ; and, indeed, more to my 
youngest daughter than to my eldest: for she refused 
the gentleman because he really had no religion at 
all ; and yet 1 was in a violent passion with her. 

Wife. Nay, that was hard indeed ; for if there be 
all this to be said why a woman should not marry a 



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139 



man of a different opinion in religion, there must 
be much more to be said why she should not marry 
one that despises religion : and this, indeed, I said 
to your youngest daughter, applauding her conduct, 
though I did not know that you had used her hardly 
on that account. 

Fa. I would be obliged to you, madam, to let me 
know what discourse you had with her too, for that 
affair is still depending. 

Wife. With all my heart ; my discourse was not 
long. 

[She repeats what she had said to the youngest 
daughter.) 

Fa. Indeed, madam, you are right ; the thing is 
so indeed ; but he was a pretty gentleman, and had 
a very noble estate, and I was mightily pleased with 
the thoughts of the match, and that made me 
more passionate with the child than I should other- 
wise have been. 

Wife. But how came she to know he was such a 
one? 

Fa. Truly, his own folly too ; he told her so 
directly, in so many words ; owned he had not 
troubled his head about religion, and did not intend 
it ; made a banter and jest of religion in general ; 
told her, it was a road he had never travelled, and 
that he intended to choose a wife first, and then, 
perhaps, he might choose his religion. 

Wife. Nay then, either he had no conduct, or no 
affection for her. 

Fa. As to the last, he not only professed a great 
deal of affection, but chose her out from the rest, 
(and you know she is the youngest, for I designed 
my eldest for him,) and made her the particular mis- 
tress of his choice ; and I verily believe loved her 
very well ; nay, the girl cannot deny but she had a 



140 



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kindness for him ; and indeed he is a most lovely 
gentleman. 

Wife, She has acted a noble part indeed ; and 
the more affection she really had for him, the more 
of a Christian she has shown in her conduct. 

Fa. So you would say indeed, if you knew all her 
conduct, and knew the person too. 

Wife. If it be not improper, I should be glad to 
know the person. 

Fa. Madam, I should be loath to name him to his 
prejudice; and if you think it will be so, I hope 
you will let it go no further. 

Wife. I promise it shall never go out of my 
mouth without your leave. 

Fa. Why, it is young Mr. , a gentleman 

I believe you have heard of. 

Wife. Heard of him ! we know him intimately 
well : but I am surprised at it, upon an account 
that I believe will surprise you too. 

Fa. What can that be ? 

Wife. Wliy, it is true, that gentleman had no re- 
ligion : poor gentleman ! he came of a most un- 
happy stock ; there never was any religion in the 
family ; but yet this may be said of him, he was a 
modest, sober, well-behaved gentleman ; you never 
heard an ill word come out of his mouth, nor found 
any indecent action in his behaviour. 

Fa. That's true ; and I thought that a great 
matter, as the youth go now. 

Wife. But I can tell you more news than that of 
him; he is become the most pious, serious, religious 
gentleman, in all the country. 

Fa. You surprise me indeed, now. 

Wife. I assure you, 'tis no copy of his counte- 
nance ; 'tis known, and he is valued and honoured 
for it by all the gentlemen round him, and he be- 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



141 



haves himself with so much humility, so much seri- 
ous gravity, that, in short, 'tis the wonder and sur- 
prise of all that know him. 

Fa. Pray how long has this alteration appeared 
in him ? 

Wife. About three months, I believe. 

Fa. I wish you had told my daughter this. 

Wife. It was impossible I should have brought 
such a thing in, that knew nothing of the circum- 
stance. 

Fa. Nay, if you had, she would not have believed 
a word of it ; on the contrary, she would have taken 
it all for a trick of mine, and that I had invited you 
hither on purpose to bring in such a story. 

Wife. Let me alone for that again another time ; 
I hope you will give the young ladies leave to return 
this visit; I design to invite them to come and see me. 

Upon this foot the discourse ended for that time, 
and all thoughts of the match for the eldest daughter 
with the son of that gentlewoman being laid aside 
for the present, the old lady, at parting, in a very 
friendly manner, invited the young ladies to her 
house, and they promised to come, and the father 
said aloud he would come and bring them. 

It was not long before the young ladies put their 
father in mind of his appointment ; for being mightily 
pleased with the old gentlewoman, they had a great 
mind to pay the visit, that the acquaintance might 
be settled. Their father appointed the next day, 
but being interrupted just at the time he intended 
to go, he caused them to go without him, and send 
the coach back for him to come after them when 
his business was done. 

While they were here, the good old gentlewoman, 
who entertained them with great civility, diverted 
them with everything she could think of ; and after 



142 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



abundance of other useful chat, they fell to talking 
the old stories over again, about religious husbands, 
and the necessity there was to have both husband 
and wife join their endeavours for propagating 
family religion. The youngest daughter repeated 
her mother's maxim ; Madam, says she, it was a rule 
my mother gave us at her death, and which J see so 
much weight in, that I desire to make it the foun- 
dation upon which I would build all my prospects 
of happiness, viz., that a religious life is the only 
heaven upon earth. I have added some other 
things to it since, which my own observation directs 
me to, but which I believe you will allow to be in 
their degree just such as these, viz., that a religious 
family is one of the greatest comforts of a religious 
life: that where both husband and wife are not 
mutually, at least if not equally religious, there can 
never be truly a religious family : that therefore for 
a religiously inclined woman to marry an irreligious 
husband, is to entail persecution upon herself as 
long as she lives. The old lady replied, I find, 
madam, as young as you are, you have studied this 
point very well. Indeed, madam, said the eldest 
sister, my sister has had occasion for it ; for she 
has been hard put to it, what with the offers of an 
extraordinary match, my father's violent passion, 
and, among ourselves, madam, not a little the im- 
portunity of her own affections, that for my part, I 
must confess, I wonder she has been able to stand 
her ground. They are three powerful arguments, I 
acknowledge, said the old lady : pray, madam, as 
far as it may be proper, let me know something of 
the manner ; you need not mention persons. I am 
not inquisitive on that score, I assure you. If my 
sister give me leave, madam, says the eldest. The 
youngest said, she left her at liberty. Why then, 
madam, says she, my father . 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



143 



{Here she gives her an abridgment of the whole 
story, but without the most extravagant part of her 
father s passion, that it might not reflect upon him.) 

Well, madam, says she, I will not say all my 
thoughts on this surprising story, because your 
sister is here ; for 'tis a rule with me, never to 
praise any one to their face, or reproach any behind 
their backs : but it is an extraordinary story in- 
deed ; and turning to the youngest sister, she said 
to her very seriously, I pray God fortify you, child, 
in such resolutions, and grant that you may have 
the true end of them fully answered ; that, if ever 
you do marry, it may be to a man as uncommonly 
serious, pious, and sincere, as you have been inimi- 
tably resolute in refusing such great offers, for the 
want of it. Then, turning to her eldest sister, says 
she, This surprising story puts me in mind of an- 
other story, which a very good man, an old ac- 
quaintance of ours, told me the other day, and 
which, they say, has just now happened to a young 
gentleman that he knows in the country ; it is a 
pretty way off too, but he told us his name ; I 
believe my husband knows the name, and I tell you 
the story for your sister's encouragement : who 
knows, but she may be a means, by such unexampled 
conduct, as this of hers is, to bring the gentleman 
she has had upon her hands to some sense of his 
condition ! 

There is a gentleman in that country, of a very 
good family, and of a very great estate, but young, 
and, I think he said, a bachelor ; he is not above 
six-and -twenty, and has between two and three 
thousand a year ; it seems, he is a most accom- 
plished, well-bred man, a handsome, charming per- 
son ; and everything that could be said of a man, 
to set him out, he said of him : he had, indeed, 
been of a family, he said, that had been emi- 



144 



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nently wicked, so that the very name of religion 
had scarce been heard of among them for some 
ages ; and young master, said my friend, could not 
be said well to be worse than his father and grand- 
father who went before him. 

However, it happened, it seems, that he went to 
London ; I think, says she, my friend said 'twas last 
winter, and when he came back, he was strangely 
melancholy and dejected, and quite altered in his 
conversation ; instead of riding abroad and visiting 
the gentlemen, and receiving visits from them, he 
shunned all company, walked about his gardens and 
woods all alone till very late in the night, and all 
his servants wondered what ailed him ; that one 
night they were in a great fright for him, knowing 
he was out on foot, and alone ; when, about ten 
o'clock at night, he came in with a poor honest 
country fellow with him, that lived almost three 
miles off; that the next day he took that poor man 
home to his house, and sent for his wife and chil- 
dren, who all lived before in a poor cottage on the 
waste, and provided for them ; gave the poor man 
a farm rent-free for twelve years, which always 
went for 22/. a year, with a good house ; lent him 
a stock for manuring it too, and made him a bailiff 
of the manor, and, in short, made a man of him : 
whereupon, everybody said that the esquire had 
been in some great danger or other, and the poor 
man had saved his life ; and, when somebody hap- 
pened to say as much to him one day, he answered, 
Yes, that poor man had done more than saved his 
life, for he had saved his soul. 

It seems, this poor labouring wretch, though 
miserable to the last degree, as to this world, was 
yet known to be a most religious, serious Christian, 
and a very modest, humble, but knowing and sensi- 
ble man, and he had been discoursing good things 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



145 



with him, and from that time forward the poor man 
was scarce ever from him ; that it was observed by 
some of the servants, that the next morning after 
the poor man came home with him, he came again, 
and brought a Bible with him, which was left in the 
young gentleman's chamber, and that this poor man 
and he were often locked up an hour or two to- 
gether, almost every day ; that next market-day 
the poor man went to the next market-town, upon 
some business for the gentleman, and brought home 
a new Bible, and several other religious books, and 
that his master was continually reading them : in 
short, our friend tells us, said she, that he is be- 
come the most sober, religious Christian, that, for 
a man of his fortune and quality, has ever been 
heard of, and that he is admired by all the country 
for it. 

I tell you this story, madam, turning to the 
youngest sister, to confirm you in your resolution, 
and to let you see that there are some religious 
gentlemen in the world still, and that the gentle- 
men may be ashamed when they pretend to say 
religion is below their quality ; for my friend says, 
that this gentleman is, with his religion, also the 
humblest, sweetest tempered creature in the world, 
ready to do good offices to the poorest of the coun- 
try, and yet mannerly and agreeably pleasant with 
the greatest ; and his family is a little pattern of 
virtue to all round them, 

Ay, madam, says the eldest, 'tis such a gentle- 
man my sister would have : But, says her sister, 
where are they to be found? I never expect it. 
Pray, madam, says the eldest sister, in what part of 
the world does this black swan, this unheard-of, 
nonsuch thing of a gentleman live ? I really forget 
the place, madam, says the old lady, but it is some- 
where in Hampshire. 

R. C. L 



146 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



She perceived, at that word, both the young 
ladies changed a little, and looked at one another ; 
so she turned her discourse off to some other sub- 
ject, and left them in the dark as to the name of 
the gentleman ; for she perceived they both guessed 
at it, or suspected it. 

When they had taken their leave, and the two 
sisters were in the coach coming home, says the 
eldest sister to the other, Did you observe Mrs. 

's story of the gentleman in Hampshire? 

Yes, said the other, I did ; and I believe you fancy 
'tis the same person we know of. It is very true, 
says the eldest, I did think so all the while she was 
telling the story ; and I expected she would name 
him, but I was loath to ask her his name. I am 
glad you did not, says the other, for 1 know no 
good it can be to me to hear it, one way or other, 
now he is gone. Why would not you be glad to 
know that he was really such a one as she has 
described? says the eldest. Yes, truly, for his 
own sake I should, said her sister ; but it is 
nothing to me now ; I had rather never have him 
mentioned at all to me, upon any occasion what- 
ever. 

After they were come home, their father, who 
had been engaged all the while, had sent the coach 
back for them, with an excuse for his not coming ; 
was very inquisitive to know of them what dis- 
course they had had ; and, his eldest daughter 
telling him one story and another story, he would 
cry, Well, was that all? For he expected she had 
broke the thing to them. No, says the eldest, she 
told us a strange story in Hampshire ; and with 
that repeated the passage word for word. Her 
father took no notice of it at that time, but two or 
three days after, as they were at supper, he says to 
his eldest daughter, Betty, who do you think the 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



147 



gentleman in Hampshire is, that Mrs. B 

told you the story of ? I cannot tell, says she ; pray 
who was it ? Even as I thought when you told of 
it, said her father, for I had heard something of it 

before ; it is nobody else but Mr. , the same 

your wise sister there thought fit to treat with so 
much ill manners. 

Nay, sir, says the eldest, do not say my sister 
treated him with ill manners ; for he owns the 
contrary to that himself : but, how are you sure of 
it, sir, that it is he ? Why, I have had the story, 
says her father, from her husband, who is greatly 
affected with it, and he named his name to me, not 
knowing in the least that I knew anything of him. 

Truly, says the eldest, I am very glad of it for 
his sake, but it does not signify a farthing to her 
now ; for, if he was to come to her again to* 
morrow, with all the sobriety and reformation 
about him, she would have nothing to say to him. 

Why so, child, says the father, did you not own 
she loves him ? Yes, says the daughter, before she 
came to know what a creature he was. Well, then, 
says the father, if that be removed, and he is be- 
come another man, she will love him again ; for 
she had no other objection against him, had she ? 
No, sir, says the daughter, she had no other objec- 
tion ; but she will never believe him, let his 
pretences to religion be what they will. Why so ? 
says the father. Because, sir, he told her, that if 
he had known her mind, he would have pretended 
to a world of reformation and religion, and that he 
did not doubt but he could be hypocrite enough to 
cheat her. 

Nay, if he has been so foolish, I know not what to 
say to it, says the father ; let it rest as it is : if she 
will not have him, whether he be religious or not 
religious, then the objection of his being not re* 

1* 2 



148 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



ligious was a sham and a cloak, and she stands out 
in mere obstinacy against her own interest, purely 
to affront her father ; let her go on, till she comes 
to be convinced by her own misfortune ; I'll meddle 
no more about it. 

The eldest sister failed not to relate this story 
very particularly to her sister, who, very gravely 
musing on the particulars, answered her sister thus, 
after several other sober and religious expressions : 

Dear sister, says she, this thing has been affliction 
enough to me ; but my father's conduct has always 
made it double ; because he cannot talk of it with- 
out resentment and unkindness : if it be really so, 

that this is the gentleman Mrs. B told us 

the story of yesterday, I should rejoice ; nay, 
though I am loath to be cheated, and what he said 
of playing the hypocrite with me has made me the 
more backward to give credit to outsides, yet, were 
I sure it was a real work of God in him, and that 
he was become a religious gentleman, you know I 
have affection enough to rejoice on my own ac- 
count, and to entertain him after another manner 
than before : but yet two things make it still 
remote from me ; first, that I have no demonstra- 
tion of the truth of the fact : and secondly, that, if 
it is so, he has made no step towards me, and 
perhaps never may ; and you know, sister, con- 
tinued she, 'tis no business of mine till he does. 

Why, that's true, says the eldest sister ; but 
what must be done then ? 

Done ! says she, let it alone ; let it rest till we 
hear something or other of it in the ordinary way 
of such things. 

But what must we do with my father ? says the 
eldest, for he is always talking to me about it. 

Do ! says the other, give the same answer to him 
from me, as I do to you. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



149 



Then, says the eldest, I am sure he will never 
rest, till he brings it about again ; for he is strangely 
intent upon it. 

Let that be as pleases God, I will be wholly 
neuter, says the youngest sister. 

Some time after this discourse, the father, hav- 
ing some occasion, for his health, went down to 
the Bath, and taking all his daughters with him, 
they continued there some months ; in which time 
they contracted an acquaintance with a lady and 
her two daughters, who came thither from Hamp- 
shire. The old lady had been a widow of a gentle- 
man of quality, by whom she had had two daugh- 
ters, but was now married to an eminent clergyman 
in the country where she lived ; and they were all 
together et the Bath, and lodged in the same apart- 
ments with these ladies. 

It happened one day after dinner, talking freely to- 
gether about marrying religious husbands and wives, 
the eldest daughter, as what is always much upon the 
mind, will be, in proportion, much upon the tongue, 
insisted in discourse upon the misery of unequal 
matches, and how unhappy it was, either to hus- 
band or wife, when a religious, pious, sincere Chris- 
tian, whether man or woman, was married to an- 
other, who had no sense of religion ; and she gives 
a long account of a relation of their father's, but 
without naming their aunt, how good a husband 
she had in all other respects, how comfortably and 
pleasantly they lived, but only for that one thing ; 
and then she told them, still without naming any- 
body, how many odd tricks sir James served his 
lady, and the like. 

Well, madam, says the old clergyman, I can tell 
you such a story of a lady in our county, as I be- 
lieve you never heard the like ; I do not know the 
woman, says the doctor, but I know the gentleman 



150 RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 

intimately well, and have had a great deal of reli- 
gious conversation with him, upon the occasion I 
shall tell you of. 

He courted a young lady, says the doctor, but 
whether she lived in our county, or city, or where, 
he is perfectly mute, only that he often tells her 
Christian name; and, seeing he seems resolved to 
conceal her person, nobody will be so rude to 
press him on that head. 

The gentleman, says the doctor, is of a very good 
family, has a noble estate, a comely person, and a 
complete courtly education, and, till this happened, 
was almost always at London. 

His mistress must be little less than an angel in 
human shape, by his description, but that we give 
no heed to ; for, madam, says the old doctor, yon 
know, men in love give themselves a liberty that 
way ; but, however, after all things were agreed, 
and the writings drawing, it seems, she threw him 
off entirely, and refused him merely because she 
found he was a man of no religion. 

Says the eldest sister, How could she know that, 
sir ? he was not so foolish to tell her so himself, I 
suppose. 

Yes, says the doctor, he did. Why then, says 
the sister, I suppose he was very indifferent whether 
he had her or no. Indeed, says the doctor, one 
would think so, and I said so to him ; but he told 
me that it was so far from that, that he had taken 
up his resolution never to have any other woman, if 
she were the richest, best, and most beautiful crea- 
ture alive. 

Then perhaps the lady has a superior fortune to 
him, besides her other qualifications, says the sister. 
No, just the contrary, says the doctor. But, madam, 
says he, I'll tell you the history of this gentleman, if 
it is not too long for you ; 'tis a story cannot be un- 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



151 



profitable to any one to hear, especially to you 
ladies who have taken up such happy resolutions 
about marrying none but religious husbands. The 
ladies bowed, in token they desired him to go on 
with the story. So the doctor went on. 

Nothing touched this gentleman so near, says he, 
after he was gone from his mistress, as to reflect 
what kind of a wretch or monster he was, that a 
virtuous young lady, and one who he had reason to 
believe had no dislike of him, should be afraid to 
marry him for fear of being ruined, and that she 
should think if she took him, she declared war 
against Heaven, and renounced all pretensions of 
duty to her Maker. 

{Here he related the whole story, his talk ivith 
himself, the discourse at the chocolate house, his 
retreat into the country, his happening to hear the 
poor countryman at prayer, his conversation with 
him upon the way, and his conduct aftenvards, all 
in the manner as related before.} 

We must suppose the sisters to have much less 
sense of religion than they were known to have, 
and particularly less sense of the case itself, in which 
it was easy to know they were nearly concerned, if 
they were not very much moved with the particu- 
lars of this story ; and no sooner had the doctor 
finished his relation, with some very handsome re- 
flections upon it, but the sisters longed to with- 
draw, to compare their own thoughts together, 
where they could do it with freedom. 

But the eldest daughter went further ; for though, 
perhaps, her curiosity was not greater than her 
sister's, yet as her courage was greater, and her 
concern in it less, she was resolved to get the name 
of this gentleman if possible ; accordingly, at length, 
she asked the doctor if the name of this gentleman 
was a secret. No, madam, says the doctor, the 



152 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



whole neighbourhood know the story in general, 
and it is nothing at all to his dishonour. No, in- 
deed, sir, says she, but just the contrary ; and if it 
was otherwise, I would not have asked his name. 
Indeed, madam, says the doctor, his name is no 

secret ; it is Mr. , the eldest son of sir 

Thomas , by whom he enjoys an estate of 

2000Z. a year, and after his uncle, who is very old, 
he has near a thousand pounds a year more en- 
tailed upon him. 

The two sisters had heard too much to hold any 
longer, the youngest especially, who pretending 
some indisposition, withdrew, and her sister soon 
after. When her sister came to her, she said, Well, 
child, what do you say to this story ? There is no 
room to think there can be any design in this old 
gentleman, or any hypocrisy in the particulars, if 
they are true. 

Her sister said never a word, but she found she 
had been crying, and that she was still too full of 
it to speak ; so she let her alone awhile, till, after 
some time fetching a great sigh, which gave her 
passions some vent, says the youngest, Why, what 
do you say to it? I say to it, says the eldest 
sister, I can say neither less or more to it than 
what the two disciples said to one another, going to 
Emmaus, about our Saviour's discourse to them, 
after he was gone, Did not our hearts burn within 
tis when he talked to us ? I am sure mine did, 
says she. Ay, and mine too, says the youngest ; but 
it is all nothing to me now. Now, says the eldest 
sister, if all the story be true, it may be something 
to you still ; for, you see, the doctor says he is 
resolved to have nobody else. I give no heed to 
that, says the youngest sister, for the tables are 
quite turned now between us, and he ought to re- 
fuse me now, for the very same reason that I re- 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



153 



fused him before ; for I have not religion enough 
for such a convert as this, I am sure, any more 
than a man without any notion of a Deity, had 
religion enough for me. Well, well, says her sister, 
let Providence, which brings all things to pass its 
own way, work as he sees fit ; I dare say, as my 
aunt said, we shall hear more of it. 

They had very little discourse at that time but 
what ended thus : but the eldest sister had a great 
mind her father should hear the story too, if possi- 
ble, before they left the place ; and she resolved to 
take an opportunity to bring it about, if she could ; 
but she was happily prevented by the forwardness 
of her father to complain of his daughter's nicety on 
all occasions : for in discourse with the doctor and 
his lady, the young ladies on both sides being ab- 
sent, took a liberty to exclaim vehemently how 
foolish one of his daughters had been, and how she 
had obstinately cast off a gentleman of such and 
such qualifications, as before. My dear, says the 

doctor's lady to him, pray tell Mr. the 

story you told the young ladies yesterday. With 
all my heart, said the doctor ; so he repeated the 
whole story. 

The father was exceedingly surprised at the par- 
ticulars, but more when the doctor told him the 
name of the gentleman ; however, he held his 
tongue, as it happened, and did not let the doctor 
know how near it related to his family ; but in the 
evening, taking his opportunity, he calls his eldest 
daughter to him, Hark ye, Betty, says he, did the 
doctor tell you a story t'other day of a gentleman in 
Hampshire? Yes, sir, says she. And was your 
sister by ? says he. Yes, sir, says she. And do you 

know that this is the same Mr. that we 

know of? says her father. Yes, sir, says she ; he 
told us his name. Well, and what does your sister 



154 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



say to it? says he. She says little, sir, says his 
daughter ; but she cannot but be moved with it, for 
'tis a surprising story. I dare say, says her father, 
I shall hear of him again ; she won't turn him off 
again, I hope ; I am sure she does not deserve him 
now. She says so herself, says the daughter, that 
he ought to refuse her now for the same reason that 
she refused him. Well, says the father, we shall 
certainly hear of him again, I am fully persuaded ; 
he will have no rest till he comes to see her again. 

A few weeks after this they returned to London, 
and the eldest sister, being impatient to see her 
aunt, and to give her some account of these things, 
they went both away to Hampstead ; when they 
came thither, she failed not to give her aunt a par- 
ticular account of all these passages, as well that 
which had happened at their visit to the merchant's 
lady in London, as what had happened at the Bath, 
all which, but especially the last, were wonderfully 
surprising and agreeable to their aunt. Well, niece, 
says the aunt to the youngest sister, what do you 
think of these things? I can say little to them, 
madam, says she ; I am glad, for his sake, that God 
has opened his eyes. But is it no satisfaction to 
you, child, says her aunt, that you have been so far 
the instrument of it ? Alas ! madam, says she ; I 
the instrument ! I have been none of the instru- 
ment, not L Yes, yes, replies her aunt, you have, 
and he acknowledges it too : and, turning to the 
eldest sister, says she, I think, child, now you may 
perform your promise, and tell your sister what he 
said to you when he called here as he went out of 
town. Yes, madam, says she, so I think too. 

{Here she gives her sister a full account of what 
he had said, as before^) 

I think you might have told me this before, says 
the youngest sister. Nay, sister, replied she, did 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



155 



you not take me short, and forbid me telling you 
anything, and withdrew out of the room, and bid 
me tell it my aunt ? Why that's true, I did so, 
says she again ; and I have been so confused, that 
I know not when I do well, and when I do ill. In- 
deed, niece, says her aunt, I also obliged her not to 
tell you : for I concluded, if there was anything in 
it, we should hear of it again ; and if we did not, it 
could do you no service. 

While they were talking thus, a coach stopped at 
the door, and a servant brought word, their father, 
and another gentleman with him, was below stairs. 

It will be necessary here to leave this part awhile, 
and bring forward the story of the young gentle- 
man, as far as it is needful to the coherence of 
things ; the story also will be very short. 

The young gentleman, having, as has been said, 
taken his new tutor, the poor countryman, into the 
house with him, received so much assistance from 
his advice, and had daily such instruction in reli- 
gious things, from the wholesome, plain counsels, of 
this humble poor creature, that the benefit of them 
soon appeared in his conversation, and his reforma- 
tion soon became visible in the general course of his 
life ; he kept company with the soberest, gravest, 
and most religious persons, that he could find ; he 
kept a most sober, regular, reformed family ; and, 
seeming to resolve to reside pretty much there, for 
the better government of his family, he took in a 
young minister of an extraordinary good character 
to be his chaplain, and caused every servant who 
appeared disorderly or vicious to be put away out 
of his house. 

These, as the natural consequences of a sincere 
work upon his own mind, were the visible product of 
that blessed change, and indeed an agreeable evi- 



156 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



dence of that sincerity of it ; but they were far from 
being the sum of things ; for, in a word, he proved 
to be a most pious, sincere Christian, in all his ways ; 
and as this was attended with a natural sweetness in 
his disposition, modesty and generosity in his man- 
ner, and an excellent temper, free from all manner 
of pride or hypocrisy, it made him perfectly agree- 
able to all sorts of people ; those who were not like 
him, valued and honoured him, and the sober, reli- 
gious part of men, were delighted in him beyond ex- 
pressing. 

He went on thus for near two years ; lived gene- 
rally in the country ; and if he came to London, as 
occasion required, yet it appeared that his choice 
was rather for the country ; especially, because he 
could not be long from his faithful assistant, the 
poor clergyman, who was upon all occasions, as we 
may say, clerk of the closet to him, and with whom 
he kept up a most religious but secret conversation, 
and had retirements with him, which none were ac- 
quainted with but themselves. 

But in all this enjoyment of himself, and the re- 
tired life he had now placed his delight in, he found 
something still wanting too, as well to complete his 
happiness here, as to forward his progress in things 
of an eternal and durable nature ; and he began to 
say to himself, that he had robbed himself of much 
of his comfort, in neglecting so long to have the 
assistance of that blessed creature, whom God had 
made the first instrument to touch his mind with a 
sense of good things. 

These thoughts dwelt upon his heart a great 
while, and he found himself very uneasy : it oc- 
curred to him, that certainly, as it had pleased God 
to make that young woman give him the alarm, and 
strike his soul with the first sense of his wretched 
condition, he had certainly furnished her for his 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



157 



further assistance, and made her capable of giving 
him further help, light, and directions, in his duty, 
and that he stood in the way of his own comforts all 
the while he was without her ; nay, that he seemed 
to reject the instrument by which God had done 
him so much good, without inquiring whether God 
had designed her for his further benefit or no. 

He reflected how suitable a disposition she was 
of in religious things to the design he had of keep- 
ing up a religious family, and how admirable a wife, 
a mother, a mistress, such a lady must needs be to 
him and his whole house, who now saw the truth of 
the excellent sentence she had often repeated to 
him, viz., That a religious life was the only heaven 
upon earth. He discoursed of all these things with 
his faithful counsellor, poor William, who pressed 
him by all the persuasions he could use to go and 
make her his own, for it was the only fear, William 
said, he had for him, that he would marry some 
lady, who, having been brought up in the usual 
levity of the times, would pull him backward, rather 
than forward him in his religious resolutions. 

With these thoughts he resolved to go to Lon- 
don, and apply himself immediately to his former 
mistress, and obtain her for his own if possible ; but 
was exceedingly disappointed when he found she 
and her father, and all the family, were gone to 
the Bath. 

However, he waited, and hearing of their return, 
he went immediately to make his visit without any 
ceremony. When he found she was abroad, he fell 
to work seriously with her father ; he told him, 
that the last time he was there, he had indeed pro- 
mised to wait on her again, but had not yet done it, 
for which he was come now to ask her pardon, and 
to give her the reason of it, and hoped he would 
give him leave to see his daughter again, notwith- 



158 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



standing what had passed. Her father told him, he 
had received an account how his daughter had used 
him ; that he was in the country when it happened, 
otherwise he should have concerned himself to have 
secured him better treatment ; that he had re- 
sented it so already to his daughter that he had 
scarce been on speaking terms with her since ; 
that as to his promise of corning again, he believed 
she was convinced that she had no reason to ex- 
pect it, seeing no gentleman would care to be ill 
used twice upon the same occasion. The young 
gentleman answered, that he was very sorry he 
should resent anything from his daughter on his 
account ; that he was surprised to hear him say she 
had ill used him ; that upon his word she had not 
done or said the least unbecoming thing to him ; 
that he was even then, when she did it, fully con- 
vinced of the reasonableness of what she had said, 
and ten times as much, if that were possible, and 
also of the just motives she had to say it to him ; 
that if she had done less, she would have acted 
from meaner principles than he knew she was mis- 
tress of, and that her reasons were so good, and 
she so well maintained them, that he had neither 
then, or now, the least thing to offer against them, 
and that his business was not now to answer her 
arguments, but to see if he could comply better 
with the just demands that she then made, than he 
could before. 

The father answered with a great many compli- 
ments and excuses, and such-like discourses ; but 
the gentleman found that he neither relished the 
reason of his daughter's refusal, or was affected at 
all with all he could say to convince him how he 
had taken it ; and modesty forbidding him to go 
further in any declaration about religious matters, 
especially where he found there was no taste of it, 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



159 



he declined saying any more about it, but he 
turned his discourse to desiring another interview 
with his daughter upon the terms of former 
proposals ; which the father consenting to, they 
went together in the young gentleman's chariot to 
Hampstead, where the young ladies were ; and this 
was the gentleman, who, as I observed, was come 
to the door with their father, just as they were, 
above, talking of him with their aunt. 

I had given an account before, that they heard a 
coach stop at the gate, and that a servant brought 
up word that their father, and another gentleman, 
was below stairs ; but they were surprised, you may 
be sure, when the eldest sister, going down first, 
comes running up stairs again with the news, in 

short, that it was Mr. , and that their father 

had brought him. 

The aunt, unwilling her niece should appear in 
any disorder, says to her, Come, child, you two 
shall stay a little, and let me go down first ; which 
the younger sister was very glad of. It was easy 
to perceive, and the passages already related will 
allow us to suppose, that although it was some sur- 
prise to the young lady to have him come thus 
suddenly and abruptly upon her, having not pre- 
pared her thoughts, or resolved upon what recep- 
tion to give him, and not having the least intima- 
tion from her father upon what account he came, 
yet that she was not alarmed, as she used to be ; 
the scruples of her conscience were all answered ; 
her jealousies of his hypocrisy were over ; and her 
affections had little or nothing to struggle with 
now, unless she might doubt his resentment of 
things past, and whether he came upon the old 
account, or rather to perform his promise, and 
make a visit of ceremony only. However, she 
begged her sister to speak to her aunt, that they 



160 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



might stay at her house, and that she might receive 
his visits there, because then she would have her 
aunt to advise and consult with on every occasion, 
and then that she would put off their being left 
together that night, that she might consider things 
a little, and know the better how to receive him. 

Her sister went down, and sending for her aunt 
into another room, proposed the first to her ; Let 
me alone, niece, for that, says she. So the other 
went up to her sister, and soon after the father call- 
ing for his two daughters, they went down into the 
room. It was easy for her, at first sight, to per- 
ceive that her lover was not at all altered in his 
affection to her ; that he did not come to her with 
resentment or with ceremony ; for he flew to her, 
took her in his arms, and told her he came to see if 
she had goodness enough to pardon his not keeping 
his word with her, in coming to wait on her again, 
and also to claim her promise of staying for him. 
He spoke this so softly, as not to be heard by the 
company, and without expecting any answer, 
turned about to pay his respects to her aunt ; in 
doing which, he told her, he hoped she would 
give him leave to wait upon her niece at her house. 

The aunt took the hint, and turning to the father, 
Brother, says she to him privately, I think if you 
would let my niece stay here for some time, and 
let the gentleman come to wait on her here, I 
would take care to prevent such little scruples as 
you know interrupted that affair before, and you 
will the sooner bring it to an end, according to 
your mind. With all my heart, says the father; 
if we had done so before, I believe she had not 
played the fool as she did. 

Upon this, turning themselves to the company, she 
says aloud, Niece, I don't intend to lose your com- 
pany thus ; I suppose, if this gentleman designs to 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



161 



visit you, he won't think it a great way to come 
to Hampstead, which, now the roads are so 
good, is not above an hour's driving ; and I hope 
we shall not make his entertainment so ill as to 
make him weary of coming hither. Her niece said, 
that must be as her father pleased to direct. I 
know that, said her aunt, and therefore I have got 
your father's consent already. They both bowed 
to her in token of assent, and night coming on, her 
father talked of going away; so he told her he 
would take another opportunity to wait on her ; 
which was what she had desired. And thus ended 
their first meeting. 

They had scarce dined the next day, but, as he 
had said, he came to visit her, and they had the 
whole afternoon to themselves ; and from that day 
they began to understand one another so well, that, 
in a few weeks, matters began to draw to a close. 
But, because some part of their discourse is neces- 
sary to finish the former account, and may be as 
useful as it is entertaining, I shall first give some 
of the particulars, as they occurred in discourse 
between her and her aunt and sister, upon this 
occasion. 

As she had advised with her sister and aunt upon 
every particular, and especially with her sister, 
from the first of it, so she made no scruple to give 
them a full account of things as they passed. It 
was one morning, after the gentleman had been 
above a week in his new addresses, that coming 
into her aunt's dressing-room, she found her sister 
there drinking coffee with her aunt, and her sister 
began with her thus : — 

Eld. Sist. Well, sister, you used to be free with 
a body, and tell one now and then how things went 
with you ; now we hear nothing from you. What, 
is it all to be a secret ? 

r. c. M 



162 



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Aunt. Nay, niece, you ought not to press your 
sister to give an account of such things. 

Eld. Sist. When she wanted advice, madam, she 
was open enough. 

Aunt. For my part, I wish her as well as I do my 
own children ; but I cannot desire her to give any 
account of such things, unless she wants advice in 
anything; and then she's a judge of that. 

Yo. Sist. Indeed, madam, if I have not told any- 
thing, or everything, both to you and my sister, it- 
has not been by way of reserve ; I am ready to give 
you a full account of all you desire ; for there is no- 
thing passes between us that need be concealed from 
you that are so near to me. As for my sister, I told 
her every passage before ; and as for you, madam, 
did I not desire to be here, that I might consult and 
advise with you, and have your directions in every 
step ? and I have wondered you have never asked 
about it before. 

Eld. Sist. The chief thing I want to know is, how 
you find him as to the grand affair of religion ; and 
whether you think him a hypocrite or no. 

Aunt. Ay, that's what I am curious about. 

Yo. Sist. I am but an ill judge of sincerity, es- 
pecially in a case where my inclinations, you know, 
are partial. 

Eld. Sist. Why you were the nicest creature 
alive before, sister ; and yet, you know, your affec- 
tions were the same way then. 

Aunt. Ay, niece, what can you say to that ? 

Yo. Sist. Madam, my sister takes it quite 
wrong. 

Eld. Sist. Plow do I take you wrong, sister ? did 
not you conclude him to be an atheist? 

Yo. Sist. But I never said he was a hypocrite ; 
if he had been no honester, than he was politic, I 
had been effectually deceived ; for it was too true, 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



163 



as lie said, if he had talked a little religiously, nay, 
if he had not openly professed his contempt of all 
religion, he had cheated me, and I had never made 
any objection. 

Aunt. That's true ; you are right, cousin : but 
how stands it now? are all the stories you told me 
you heard at the Bath about him, true or no ? 

Yo. Sist. Truly, I believe they are. 

Eld. Sist. Are you but at believe still ? I would 
have had the bottom of them all out by this time : 
what have you been about all this while ? 

Yo. Sist. Truly we have spent all the time almost 
about the great difficulty of judging whether he is 
sincere or a hypocrite ; and we are scarce got through 
it yet, I assure you. 

Eld. Sist. Why then I think my sister is mad : 
what kind of confession of principles do you insist 
on, pray ? I hope you don't set up to examine the 
heart. 

Yo. Sist. You run all upon mistakes with me, sister ; 
the dispute lies just the other way; 1 am for allowing 
him to be sincere, but he will not grant that I have 
any reason to do so : he says that I ought to believe 
he is a hypocrite. 

Aunt. Come, niece, let us have the whole story 
of it; we shall then know how to judge of it together. 

Yo. Sist. With all my heart, madam : you know 
he came to me last Tuesday night, when you first 
left us together. After some compliments, he re- 
peated what he had said before, that he came to ask 
my pardon for not coming again, as he had said he 
would : I told him I did not expect him to come 
again ; and if I was to believe the opinion of other 
people, I had used him so rudely, that it was not 
reasonable to think that any gentleman that was so 
treated, would ever have come again, unless it was 
to affront me. He wondered, he said, who could 

m 2 



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pretend to say so ; for, he assured me, he not only 
never said I used him ill, but never thought so, and 
certainly I would not say so to anybody ; for he was 
persuaded, he said, that 1 did neither do it on purpose 
to use him ill, or believe it was ill usage. I told him 
he did me a great deal of justice to say I did not 
act on purpose to affront him ; but that I could not 
but say I thought I had used him a little too rudely, 
for all that ; and that if he thought so too, I was 
very ready to take this opportunity to ask him 
pardon, without so much as naming the necessity I 
was in, on other accounts, for doing what I did. 

Aunt. You were very courtly in that particular, 
niece ; pray what did he say to it ? 

Yo. Sist. He told me I had nothing to ask him 
pardon for ; and assured me he had not been gone 
half an hour from me, before he was convinced of 
the justice of all I had said, and how much reason I 
had to refuse him, upon the nicety which I had re- 
fused him upon. He added, that he had a thousand 
times since reproached himself with the folly of his 
own conduct at that time, or that he could think it 
could recommend him to any woman of virtue and 
sense, to boast of having no thought or sense of re- 
ligion : For, madam, says he, had you taken no no- 
tice of it, I should of necessity have concluded, in a 
quarter of an hour after, that you had no sense of 
virtue or religion yourself. Why, what if I had not? 
said I ; I had been but the more suitable to you, 
and you must have liked me the better for that. 
He returned, No, madam, just the contrary ; for, 
though I own I had not thought of religion myself, 
yet, had any woman told me so of herself, I should 
presently have said she was no match for a gentle- 
man ; for no man can be so void of sense, as well as 
of religion, as not to know that a woman of no re- 
ligion is no woman fit to make a wife of: and this, 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



165 



says he, convinced me that you were in the right to 
refuse me on that account. 

Aunt It was a very ingenuous acknowledgment, 
I confess ; the truth of it is so convincing, that I 
wish all the young women who have their settle- 
ments in view, would reflect seriously on this point, 
that however wicked men are, they are always willing 
to have sober, religious, and virtuous wives ; and 
'tis very rarely that the worst rake in nature, if his 
senses are in exercise, desires to have a wife loose 
like himself, but pray go on, niece. 

Yo. Sist. He told me he was not gone a quarter 
of an hour from me, but this reflection struck with 
horror upon his mind : What a dreadful creature 
am I ! sure I am a horrid, frightful wretch ! that a 
woman of sobriety and religion was afraid to venture 
to take me, for fear of being ruined ; and that she 
should think she declared war against Heaven, and 
joined herself to one of God's enemies ! He was 
going on, but I found his speech stopped of a sudden, 
at which I was a little surprised, and asked him if 
he was not well : he said, Yes : and endeavoured to 
hide the little disorder he was in, and went on. He 
told me that I had been really very just to him, and 
he had reason to thank me for it ; and that he had 
desired my sister to express his mind full on that 
account ; which he hoped she had done. I told him 
I could not now enter upon an apology for what I 
had said to him so long ago ; that if I had treated 
him rudely or severely, I was very sorry ; but that 
what I did was occasioned, as he knew very well, by 
his making such open declarations, and such as I 
thought he really had no occasion for, concerning 
his aversion to, and ignorance of, all religion ; and 
that it was really a dreadful thing to think of marry- 
ing on such terms. He replied, that if I had said 
less than I did, he must necessarily, when he came 



166 



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to his senses, have had a meaner opinion of me than 
he had ; and that it was really the reproaches I had 
given him, and the excellent reasons I had given him 
for my resolutions of rejecting him, that had now 
brought him back to me, and had made him resolve 
to have no woman on earth but me, if I would but 
revoke the resolutions I had taken against him : for 
nothing less than so much religion and virtue, could 
ever make him happy. 

Aunt. If he was sincere in this, I assure you, 
niece, it was a high compliment upon religion, as well 
as upon your conduct. 

Yo. Sist. I told him, that, as the reason I had for 
using him so, was thus approved by himself, he 
bound me to preserve the same resolution, on the 
hazard of his having the less esteem for me. He 
confessed that was very true, unless he could con- 
vince me the cause was removed, which he saw no 
hopes of; and that was the reason that he came to 
visit me again, with so little encouragement, that 
he knew not what to think of it. 

Eld. Sist. What could he mean by that? why, 
sure, then all we have heard must be false, and he 
is the same man as ever. 

Yo. Sist. I was greatly startled at his words, and 
looked steadily at him, but could judge nothing from 
his countenance : but it grew late, and he took his 
leave, falling into some other cursory talk, and left me, 
I confess, in the greatest confusion of thought imagin- 
able ; for I was dreadfully afraid he would declare 
himself to have no sense of religion on his mind 
still ; and then I was in a worse condition than at 
first, having thus admitted a second treaty with him. 

Aunt. I thought, child, you was a little perplexed 
on Tuesday night ; but I took it to be only a little 
thoughtfulness more than ordinary, which is usual 
on such occasions. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



167 



Yo. Sist When he came again the next night, he 
made a kind of an apology for having left me in 
more disorder than he was used to do ; For, to tell 
you true, madam, says he, I was not able to go on 
with what I was saying to you ; neither am I now, 
says he, seeing I am come to wait on you, and yet 
have effectually shut the door against myself. I 
told him I did not perhaps rightly understand him, 
unless he would explain himself. Why, says he, I 
have first told you sincerely how absolutely I ap- 
prove the resolution you took against me, and yet 
owned, and do still, that I am no way able to con- 
vince you that the cause is removed. I told him 
that I thought he was not just to himself; and that 
the same thing, whatever it was, that had power to 
convince him that I was under a necessity to refuse 
him on that occasion, would certainly assist him to 
remove the cause. He turned short upon me : But, 
madam, said he, did I not make conditions with 
you, that whenever I talked of it you should take 
me for a hypocrite ? and did I not positively de- 
clare to you that I would deceive you if I could. 

Eld. Sist. Now I know what he meant. 

Yo. Sist. Ay, so did I too ; but he run it up so 
high against himself, that I could not answer a word, 
unless I would have turned the tables, as it were, 
against myself, and courted him, by telling him how 
well I was satisfied of his sincerity ; so that, in short, 
I was quite puzzled : for what could I say to a man, 
that did, as it were, bid me believe him to be a hy- 
pocrite ? 

Aunt. You had a nice case before you, cousin ; 
pray what said you to it ? 

Yo. Sist. I told him, very coldly, I was under a 
necessity of believing everything he said, because 
he had been so sincere with me all along; and I 
begged him, therefore, not to tell me seriously, now, 



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that he was a hypocrite, and that the cause of my 
refusing before to talk with him was not removed ; 
that I hoped it was otherwise, but should despair of 
it if it came from his own mouth ; and that if I was 
assured from his own mouth that he came to de- 
ceive me, he must needs know I had nothing else to 
do but to act as I did before, which he had owned 
I had reason for. No, madam, says he, I do not 
say I desire to deceive you ; but I say that, having 
told you I would, you ought to believe I design it ; 
and I see no room to convince you I am not an hy- 
crite, seeing T promised you I would be so ; and I 
know not whether I dare tell you that I am not so, 
even in the best of me. 

Eld. Sist. I could have put an end to all this 
nicety in two words. 

Yo. Sist. Then you will the more easily tell me 
how I shall do it. 

Eld. Sist. Why, I would have told him that, 
though I had not so much concern for him to busy 
myself to inquire after his conduct, yet I had not so 
little as not to be glad to know, by other hands than 
his own, that he was no hypocrite, and that I re- 
joiced, for his sake, to hear that his eyes were 
opened to that which alone could make him the 
happiest man alive. 

Yo. Sist. Then I must at the same time have 
told him that my scruples were all over about him ; 
which was as much as to tell him I would have him 
whenever he pleased to take me : but I ha'n't learned 
that way of talking yet. 

Aunt. Well, niece ; and if you had, after so long 
acquaintance, and so much pressing, I do not think 
you could have charged yourself with being for- 
ward. 

Yo. Sist. Well, then you will the better like what 
has happened since, madam. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



169 



Aunt. With all my heart : then pray go on, my 
dear. 

Yo. Sist. Why, madam, this took up the first 
three or four nights of our discourse : the night be- 
fore last he began a little more seriously, and came 
closer to the thing itself : he told me he had made 
himself very melancholy with me the two last times 
he was with me ; for he thought that, instead of 
courting me to have him, he had taken a great deal 
of pains to court me to refuse him again. I told 
him 1 thought so too ; and that I confessed I had 
been a little concerned about it, because I could by 
no means understand him. He told me it pro- 
ceeded from the just reflection he made on his 
foolish discourse two years ago, viz., that he wished 
he had counterfeited religious discourse, and that 
he would certainly have cheated me if he could, and 
did not doubt but he could have done it effectually : 
those words, he said, flew in his face when he went 
to say anything seriously to me, and persuaded him 
that I would believe he was only counterfeiting se- 
rious things on purpose to deceive me. I answered, 
he might reproach himself with those things, but I 
did not lay any stress on them ; for I believed he 
had too much honesty, whether it proceeded from 
religion or no, to offer to deceive me in a thing in 
which he owned so ingenuously I was right. Then 
he told me, with the greatest affection in his dis- 
course that ever I saw in my life, that he must con- 
fess, as he said before, that my rejecting him as I 
had done had made impressions on his mind quite 
different from what he had before ; but that he 
found it the hardest thing in the world to express 
what had happened to him on that account, and the 
thoughts of those things which had taken up his 
mind since that ; only this he would own to me, that 
I was in the right, that he had most notoriously ex- 



170 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



posed himself to me, and that he had perfectly the 
same opinion now of those things which I had be- 
fore, viz., that a religious life was the only heaven 
upon earth ; but he could go no further, he said, 
nor could he answer for himself how far such 
thoughts might carry him, or express to me the 
particulars that had lain upon his mind about them; 
and how far what he had said would satisfy me, he 
did not know. I told him I hoped he did not think 
I set up for a judge of the particulars ; that my ob- 
jection before lay against a general contempt of all 
religion ; that it was my terror to think of marrying 
an enemy to God, one that had no sense of the 
common duties we all owe to Him that made us ; 
but that I never expected a confession of faith from 
him, or any man, in such a case. He told me he 
thought it required more assurance than he was 
master of to talk anything of himself that way, at 
least till there were more intimacy between us ; 
that he thought religious things, talked of in that 
manner, received an injury from the very discourse, 
and that it was next door to boasting of them, which 
was the worst kind of hypocrisy ; and if he could 
say no more of himself but this, he hoped I would 
take it for a sufficient testimony of the alteration of 
his thoughts, viz., that he loved me for the honour 
I paid to religion, and for that steadiness which had 
made me refuse him before. I told him I saw his 
difficulty, and that I would abate him the trouble of 
entering into particulars, which I found he was too 
modest to relate, and which, however, I was not 
quite a stranger to ; and that I desired we might 
speak no more of a thing which I knew it was diffi- 
cult for him to be free in. He blushed as red as fire 
when I said I was not a stranger to the particulars, 
which he declined to express, and said not one word 
for a good while, I told him I knew it was a point 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



171 



that could not come from a man's own mouth ; that I 
did not desire it, and would make him easy, so far, 
as to tell him I was fully satisfied he was no hypo- 
crite, and hoped he would give himself no more 
trouble about it. He took me in his arms, and told 
me very affectionately that I had said that of him 
that he would give all the world to be able to say of 
himself ; that, however, he hoped to be beholden to 
me for more than that, and, as I had given him the 
first view of the beauty of a religious life, he ex- 
pected a great deal more from my assistance and 
example in pursuing the steps of it. I told him that 
I begged of him we might avoid all religious com- 
pliments, for they were the oddest things in nature; 
that he quite mistook me ; that it was not because 
I thought myself capable of guiding in religious 
matters, that I insisted on the necessity of not mar- 
rying a man void of religion, but from a due sense 
of just the contrary, viz., the want I should be in of 
being guided and assisted in religious things upon 
all occasions myself ; that it would be a fatal mistake 
the other way, and greatly to my disadvantage, to 
have him expect more from me than he would find ; 
and that, on the contrary, I thought I had now so 
much less religion than he, that he ought to refuse 
me now for the same reason that I refused him be- 
fore. 

This is the sum of our affair, and thus it stands, 
only with this addition, that he told me a very- 
pleasant story which happened at a chocolate-house 
near the court, which is so useful, as well as divert- 
ing, that I cannot but relate it to you. 

{Here she tells them the story of the two beaus 
and the lord discoursing about the suitableness of a 
religious life to the life of a gentleman.) 

Aunt That story is fit to be read for a lecture of 



172 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



instruction to all the young gentlemen of this age. 
Well, niece, you are a happy girl. 
Yo. Sist. Why, madam ? 

Aunt. Only in being courted by a gentleman of 
the greatest sincerity, modesty, and piety, that ever 
I met with in my life. 

Yo. Sist. And would you advise me, madam, to 
have him then ? 

Aunt Ay, child, without any more difficulty, if 
you desire to be the happiest woman alive, and an 
example and encouragement to all the young women 
in England, for the rejecting profane and irreligious 
husbands. 

Thus far, I think, contains all the useful part of 
this story, only adding, that it was not long after 
this, both the agreement and settlement being all in 
a readiness, the father and all friends assenting, 
they were married, and lived afterwards the happiest 
couple, that can be imagined ; having a sober, regu- 
lar, well- governed family ; a most pleasant, com- 
fortable, agreeable conversation with one another ; 
suitable in temper, desires, delights ; and, in a 
word, in everything else ; and, which made them 
completely happy, they were exemplary in piety 
and virtue to all that knew them. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



PART II. 

We have seen the happy conduct of the youngest 
of the three daughters of the gentleman, whose 
family this book began with, and the comfortable 
success of it : the second daughter, from the begin- 
ning, acted upon other principles, or rather, indeed, 
upon no principles at all ; yet her history may, per- 
haps, be no less fruitful of instruction than the 
other, though something more tragical, as to her 
own part of it. 

She declared to her sister, as appears in the 
beginning of her story, that she would not trouble 
herself, when it came to her turn, what religion the 
gentleman was of, or whether he had any religion 
or no, if she had but a good settlement ; and now 
we shall see her be as good as her word. 

Her father, whose character I have sufficiently 
spoken to already, having had, for many years, a 
considerable trade into Italy, where he once lived, 
there came an English gentleman to visit him, who 
had been formerly contemporary with him, and had 
long been his correspondent and factor there, viz., 
at Leghorn ; and who, being grown very rich, was 
come to England, resolving to settle here. There 
were some accounts, it seems, depending between 
them, which they had appointed a day to settle and 
balance, in order to exchange releases ; which 



174 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



being all finished in the morning, the father of 
these ladies takes his factor into his coach, and 
carries him home to dinner with him, where the 
old gentleman entertained him very handsomely, 
and where he had an opportunity to see the two 
maiden daughters ; for the youngest, who had been 
married some time, was gone into Hampshire to 
her country seat with her husband. 

This Leghorn merchant no sooner saw and con- 
versed a little with the ladies, but he took a fancy 
to the youngest, and from that time resolved to 
make her his wife. It was not long before he let 
them know his mind ; and, having made very hand- 
some proposals to her father, he, the father, received 
him with a frankness suitable to their long intimacy 
and acquaintance, and told him, with all his heart, 
if his daughter and he could agree. 

Before I bring them together, it is proper, to the 
relish of the story, to take a little notice of the cha- 
racters of the two young persons, of whose story we 
ought to have a general idea, that we may not be 
left to gather it up slowly among the particulars. 

The young lady was very sober, virtuous to the 
nicest degree, extremely well-bred, and wonderfully 
good-humoured ; she was likewise a very lovely, 
beautiful person, the handsomest of the three 
sisters, beyond all comparison : as to religion, she 
had a very good foundation of knowledge, and had 
done nothing to make it be supposed she was not 
truly religious in practice ; but she was not alto- 
gether so grave and serious as her eldest sister ; 
much less was she so devout and strict as her 
younger sister that was married, as might be ob- 
served from what passed between them at first : 
her temper was sprightly and gay ; and, though she 
governed herself so, that she gave every one room 
to see that she was one that had a true sense of re- 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



175 



ligion at bottom, and a fund of good principles and 
good notions in her mind, yet she was young and 
merry, and did not tie herself up so severely in such 
things as her sisters had done ; which, though it 
was no part of her happiness in the affair before 
her, yet it rendered her very agreeable to her 
father ; and particularly, it made the affair with 
this gentleman much easier to her father, and he 
had much less trouble with her than he had with 
her two sisters. 

The gentleman was, as I have observed, an 
Italian merchant, a very handsome, agreeable 
person, perfectly well-bred, having lived abroad, 
and seen a great deal of the world : he was also a 
man of excellent parts and sense, talked admirably 
well, almost of everything that came in his way, 
spoke several languages, and, in short, was not a 
complete-bred merchant only, but much of a gen- 
tleman ; and to all this was to be added, that he 
was very sober, grave, and oftentimes, as occasion 
offered, his discourse upon religious affairs dis- 
covered him to be very serious and religious. As 
to his estate, it was not very well only, but extra- 
ordinary ; he was, indeed, a little too old, having 
lived abroad about twenty-two years, and was 
about so much above twenty, which was the age of 
the lady. However, as this was an advantage in 
many other ways, as in his judgment and expe- 
rience in the world, the father made no scruple at 
all of it, nor did his daughter inquire much after 
it. 

In a word, having been introduced to the young 
lady, she must have been a woman of much more 
nicety and scruple than she professed herself to be, 
if she had disliked anything in his person or cir- 
cumstances ; and therefore having kept her company 
for some weeks, things began to draw towards a close, 



176 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



when one evening, after the gentleman had been 
with her, and was gone away, her eldest sister and 
she happened to meet ; and the following dialogue 
between them may further explain the case. 



DIALOGUE L 

Eld. Sist. Well, sister, how do you go on ? 
When are we to go and buy wedding-clothes ? 

Sist. Nay, I don't know ; e'en when you will, I 
think : I don't know what we stay for, not I. 

Eld. Sist. Prythee let's have done with it then ; 
I want to call him brother ; then I can talk freely 
to him. 

Sist. Why you may call him brother now, can't 
you ? You see he calls you sister already, as natur- 
ally as if we were all of a breed. 

Eld. Sist. Ay, so did somebody else, you know, 
and yet made a two-year's piece of work of it after- 
wards for all that. 

(She means the gentleman that courted the third 
sister.) 

Sist. Yes, yes, I remember it ; but I'll assure you 
I am none of those ; I'll either make an end of it 
one way, or make an end of it another way, in less 
than so many months. 

Eld. Sist. Perhaps your objections are not so just 
as hers. 

Sist I don't enter into her scruples, I assure 
you. 

Eld. Sist I hope you have not her occasion. 
Sist. Nay, I don't know what occasion she had, 
not I. 

Eld. Sist Nay, hold, sister ; don't say so, neither ; 
without doubt her occasion was very just ; and you 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



177 



have the same obligation upon you, but I hope you 
have not the same occasion. 

Sist I know not what you mean by obligation ; 
I have no obligation at all upon me, as I know of. 

Eld. Sist. Why do you say so, sister ? I mean the 
obligation which is upon us all from the charge my 
mother gave us upon her death-bed, about our mar- 
rying religious husbands. 

Sist. I look upon what my mother said to be good 
counsel, which we should give its due weight to ; 
but I do not take it to be a command that binds me 
absolutely in duty to my mother's words : duty cer- 
tainly ends, when death separates. 

Eld. Sist. I know not whether it does or no, 
sister. 

Sist. I think you are too superstitious that way, 
sister. 

Eld. Sist. Well, but suppose it to be but as 
advice, yet it has a double force with it : first, as it 
came from a tender, dear, and most affectionate 
mother, who not only most passionately loved us, 
but had an excellent judgment to direct her to give 
us the best counsel : and, secondly, as our own 
judgment and conscience must testify with her, that 
what she enjoined us to observe, is the most reason- 
able and necessary thing for us to do, that can be 
imagined for our own advantage, and as well for our 
happiness here as hereafter. 

Sist. You lay a greater stress upon it than I do, 
I confess : if my mother had been alive indeed, I 
should have thought myself obliged to be guided 
by her directions, and her injunctions would have 
been positive commands ; but then she would have 
been able to judge of particular circumstances, and 
would have given her advice accordingly. 

Eld. Sist. But her advice to us was therefore 
r. c. N 



178 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



suited to her present state of absence, and went no 
further than to a case described by its own circum- 
stances, and which nothing can alter ; because the 
obligation supposes the circumstance, and where 
the circumstance is not, the obligation ceases. 

Sist. You talk so learnedly, I want an explanation. 

Eld. Sist. No, sister, you don't want an explana- 
tion, I am sure ; but you are disposed to lay it all 
aside, as a thing you have no need of ; however, I'll 
explain myself in a word speaking : our mother 
warned us against marrying men of no religion, that 
is, men that made no profession of a reverence to 
God and his worship ; this want of a religious pro- 
fession is the circumstance which I speak of; if 
the circumstance does not appear, the advice 
ceases ; for our mother knew we could not judge of 
sincerity. 

Sist. Well ; so then if a man tells me he is re- 
ligious, it is well enough, whether he speaks truth 
or no. 

Eld. Sist. What need we talk of this? I hope 
you have an assurance of the contrary in Mr. . 

Sist. No, not I, indeed ; what assurance can I 
have ? He seems to be a sober man, that's all I 
know of it. 

Eld. Sist. Well, and I would know more of it, 
however, if I were you. 

Sist. Why I do know something more of it too, 
now I think of it ; for we were talking of such 
things one night, when he happened to mention sir 

Robert , and he spoke of him with a great deal 

of indignation ; he said he was a horrid atheistical 
wretch, and that he could not bear his company ; 
for he was always making a jest of sacred things, 
bantering all religion in such a manner, that no 
sober mind could abide it without horror. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



179 



Eld, Sist, Well, there's something in that, I 
assure you. 

Sist. Why I take it to be a plain declaration 
that he has a just reverence for religion, as my 
sister took the contrary in her lover for a declaration 
of his having no religion at all. 

Eld, Sist. Nay, he told her he had not, in so 
many words, and that he had not troubled his head 
about it, and did not intend to do it. 

Sist, Well then, and this gentleman has told me 
he has ; for he owns he has so much regard for re- 
ligion, that he cannot hear it ridiculed and bantered 
without horror. 

Eld. Sist. That is something, I confess, in general : 
but — 

Sist, But what ? What would you have me do ? 
Must I examine his principles and opinion ? Shall 
I ask him to say his catechism ? If I should talk 
on that fashion to him now, what kind of a cateche- 
tical wife will he think I shall make ? He'll think 
I shall be a schoolmistress rather than a wife. 

Eld, Sist, No, no ; though you are so pert with 
your sister, forsooth, you need not be so with him, 
I hope ; nor need 1 tell you how to manage such a 
point : but I warrant you I would find it out, what 
his opinion was, one way or another ; why he may 
be a papist for aught you know yet of him ; some 
of them are very religious in their way, and speak 
very reverently and seriously of religion in general. 

Sist, Let him be a papist and he will. I am sure 
I can never ask him such a question ; but, however, 
I am pretty well satisfied of that too ; for I heard 
him say once, he had been at church: and another 
time accidentally speaking about religion, he de- 
clared he was a member of the church of England, 
as by law established. 

Eld, Sist, Well, you are an easy lady ; a little 

n 2 



180 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



matter satisfies you : I should presently have said, 
I hope, sir, you mean the protestant church of 
England : why do you not imagine the Roman 
catholics think the popish church is the only church 
of England that is established by law ? 

Sist. Sure, sister, you take all the world to be 
hypocrites and cheats ; I never can suspect any 
gentleman, that bears the character of an honest 
man, would set up to impose upon me with such 
equivocal speeches; why I never heard such a vile 
distinction in my life. 

Eld. Sist Have you not ? Why then I have : I 
have heard, that in king Charles the Second's time, 
people in general were deluded with that very ex- 
pression in all their public speeches, proclamations, 
declarations, &c, promising always to preserve and 
maintain the church of England, as established by 
law ; and yet all that while they meant the popish 
church. 

Sist These are remote things, sister; for my 
part, I have no mistrust ; I am honest myself, and I 
suspect nobody. 

Eld. Sist. It is a thing of moment, sister ; I 
would be sure. 

Sist Not I ; I have no room to suspect. 

Eld. Sist Then you do not answer the obligation 
you were under to my mother's desire. 

Sist Yes, I do ; for I think I have good reason 
to believe him a very serious, religious gentleman. 

Eld. Sist But you know my mother engaged us 
to examine particulars, and not to marry any man, 
how religious soever he seemed also, unless he was 
of the same opinion in religion with ourselves. 

Sist In that I think my mother went too far, 
sister. 

Eld. Sist My mother gave us a great many ex- 
amples of the misery that has followed in the rela- 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



181 



tion of husband and wife, by reason only of 
differences in opinion. 

Sist. It must be then where there was but little 
religion on either side. 

Eld. Sist. I do not know that neither ; you and 
I know some families, more than one or two, where 
they are all at daggers-drawn about opinion, and 
the families are ruined as to their peace, and yet 
both are very religious too, nay, zealous in their 
way ; and the more the zeal, the more the strife. 

Sist. There may be zeal, but there is no charity 
then : and what's any religion without charity ? 

Eld. Sist. Well, but because charity does not al- 
ways keep pace with religion, and every one is apt 
to think themselves in the right, and to reproach 
the sincerity of those that differ from them ; there- 
fore our mother earnestly pressed us to make that 
point sure before we fixed our choice for our lives. 

Sist. It is a fine thing to talk of, but hard to be 
followed : what have I to do with his opinion ? and 
what can I say to him, if he tells me he is of one 
opinion, and should be of another ? You, nor no 
young body alive, can prevent being imposed upon, 
if a man finds it for his purpose to deceive us. 

Eld. Sist. Well, sister, you trample upon all 
caution ; you are one of them that seem perfectly 
indifferent whether you are deceived or no. 

Sist. No, sister, 1 am not willing to be deceived, 
you see ; I have had a general discovery of his 
being a man religiously inclined, that has a reverence 
for the worship of God, and the being of God ; nay, 
you cannot but remember how the other night at 
supper he discoursed very gravely, and I assure 
you, to me it was very agreeable, about the men of 
the town first pretending to be atheists, and to deny 
the being of a God, and the next minute profanely 
swearing by his name. 



182 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Eld. Sist. All this is true, and clears you from 
the first scruple ; so far, I may grant, you are within 
my mother's first injunction, not to marry a man 
that does not profess to be religious in general ; but 
that is but one part : what say you to the other, 
not to marry any man, however professing himself 
to be religious, that is not of the same opinion with 
yourself? 

Sist. You will carry everything up to the extre- 
mity ; but, however, 1 have a way for that too ; and 
you shall not charge me with slighting my mother's 
advice. 

Eld. Sist. What way have you got ? I doubt 'tis 
but an odd one. 

Sist. Why, if he will not be of my opinion, I'll be 
of his opinion ; and so we will agree one way, if we 
can't t'other. 

Eld. Sist. That's boldly said, and, I must own to 
you, signifies, you are yet to choose in your own 
opinion : pray, what if he should be a Roman ca- 
tholic, as I hinted before? you know he has lived 
in Italy. 

Sist. Well, if he should be a Christian catholic, I 
am a catholic Christian : so we need not fall out for 
all that. 

Eld. Sist. I persuade myself you are not so indif- 
ferent as you make yourself, or else (which I hope 
rather) you are jesting with me, or you talk this 
upon a supposition that you are sure he is a 
protestant. 

Sist. Well, you are in the right there too ; I 
cannot entertain such thoughts of him ; besides, my 
father told me he was a protestant. 

Eld. Sist. It is our misfortune, sister, that my 
father does not much concern himself about those 
things ; he leaves us to our fate. 

Sist. And is that our misfortune, say you ? I do 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



183 



not see it, I confess ; for I think 'tis our business to 
choose for ourselves : and I observe, where fathers 
are so very strait-laced, and confine their children 
to such and such particulars in the husbands or wives 
they shall choose, their children generally choose 
without much regard to those injunctions, or else 
fly directly in the face of them, and go quite contrary. 

Eld. Sist. You argue, sister, from the practice to 
the duty, as if, because children do not regard the 
care and concern of their parents in their marriages, 
therefore they ought to do so ; and that it was not 
the duty of parents to direct them, or to concern 
themselves about it. 

Sist. I don't inquire what is the duty of parents ; 
I am speaking of what is the practice of children. 

Eld. Sist. But you do not justify that practice, I 
hope ? 

Sist. I think, take one time with another, children 
do as well, when they trust to their own directions, 
I mean when they choose with judgment : pray 
what would become of us, if we were just to follow 
©ur father's directions ? You know he would direct 
us to take the first that comes, if he liked but the 
settlement. 

Eld. Sist. That's a wrong way of arguing, sister, 
that, because our father neglects it, therefore chil- 
dren are not the better for such parents as do their 
duty, and that show a just concern for the religious 
happiness of their children, in settling them in the 
world. 

Sist. I do not see much difference, I say ; but 
sometimes one do as well as the other. 

Eld. Sist. Yes, there is this difference, sister, 
that where the parents act right, the children are 
seldom ruined, unless it be by their own wilful ob- 
stinacy. 

Sist. And sometimes children are ruined, let the 



184 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



parents do their best ; nay, sometimes the parents 
themselves know not what to direct. 

Eld. Sist. You may as well say, that, because 
doctors die, nobody should take physic. 

Sist. Every one has eyes to choose for them- 
selves ; I don't think the proverb has any weight in 
this case, that love is blind ; folks may easily see 
the difference between a religious man and an 
atheist, without their parents. 

Eld. Sist But it is a matter of such weight, and 
so irrecoverable when done, that we ought to see 
with as many eyes as we can ; and a careful, reli- 
gious parent, is a good scout to look out for us, a 
good pilot to steer us, and a good counsellor to ad- 
vise us. 

Sist. I don't see the want of it, perhaps, so much 
as you do ; I see, sometimes, the very mistake of 
the parents is the cause of the ruin of the chil- 
dren. 

Eld. Sist. I must confess I do see the want of it, 
and I think it is a sad thing to be left so as we are, 
without the guide of our parents, for all that ; and 
if we, in particular, should be ruined by it, our 
father would have small satisfaction in his own con- 
duct : 'tis such management makes children slight 
their father's directions as they do. 

Sist. Well, our father does kind things for us an- 
other way, however. 

Eld. Sist. I don't desire to reflect upon my father ; 
but if his care was as much employed in choosing 
religious husbands for us, (since he will have us 
marry,) as it is in getting portions for us, we should 
find the advantage of it much more to his future 
satisfaction, and our own. 

Sist. We must take the more care of it our- 
selves. 

Eld. Sist Why, that's the point I am upon : I 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



185 



wish you would do so then, sister ; for it is your 
case that I am upon. 

Sist. I have done it, I think : I see no room to 
object. 

Eld. Sist. I can say no more, sister ; you are re- 
solved, I see, and must go on ; but you will buy 
your experience at a terrible price ; and if, upon 
the trial, you should be mistaken, you will think of 
this discourse hereafter. 

Sist. What would you have me do ? 

Eld. Sist. Do ! I would enter into a serious dis- 
course of religious matters with him ; I would know 
how we were to live together, whether as heathens 
or as Christians ; I would find out his principles, if 
he has any, or find out that he has none : this is not 
catechising him, nor is there anything indecent in 
it. You are not ashamed to inquire into his estate, 
and make provision for yourself out of it by a good 
jointure ; and will you be ashamed to inquire after 
that which is of ten thousand times the consequence? 
sure you can never go on hoodwinked at all hazards 
thus, in that part that is for the happiness of your 
life, soul and body ; besides, had you not our sister's 
example before you ? 

Sist. Why, I tell you, it is clear to me that he is 
a man that has a sense of religion upon his mind ; I 
gave you an instance of it in his detestation of sir 
Robert and his practices : if my sister could have 
had but so much satisfaction as that, she would 
never have refused my brother. 

Eld. Sist. You wrong my sister, I assure you ; 
she did not come so far, indeed, because she came 
to a clear discovery that he had no religion at all, 
which was the first point ; but I can assure you, if 
she had got over that point she would have inquired 
further : for 'tis a poor satisfaction that is founded 
upon negative religion only. 



186 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Sist. If we expect to search into positives, as the 
world goes now, I think we put a hardship upon 
ourselves that we are not obliged to. 

Eld. Sist. But certainly it is our business to do 
it, if we expect to live happily ; for there are a great 
many men, now-a-days, that are not atheists, and 
that abhor bantering of religion, or making a jest of 
sacred things, and yet have nothing at all in them 
that is fit to be called religion. 

Sist. Well, I am not to examine the inside : a 
small deal of hypocrisy will conceal the heart ; if he 
be not a religious man, the worst will be his own, I 
cannot find it out. 

Eld. Sist. Dear sister, I should not say so much, 
but that methinks you do not attempt to find it out; 
you do not inquire after it ; I do not find you have 
exchanged six words upon the subject. 

Sist. Why, I tell you, what he said about sir 
Robert gave me a good impression of him. 

Eld. Sist. O sister ! you are soon satisfied ; you 
would not be so easy in the matter of his estate ; it 
seems you will trust your soul upon lighter security 
than you will your portion. 

Sist. How do you mean ? 

Eld. Sist. Why, sister, you won't take it upon his 
word that he has an estate, or that you shall be pro- 
vided for, but you must have his estate appear, your 
part be settled, and the land bound to you ; it is 
not enough for him to say, I have such and such a 
revenue by the year, and you shall have such a part 
of it if I die before you; but you will have it 
under hand and seal, so that he shall not be able to 
go back. 

Sist. Well, and should I not do so ? 

Eld. Sist. Yes, yes ; but I allude only to it, and 
observe how less anxious you are, how much easier 
satisfied, how sooner secure, about the main article 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



187 



that constitutes the happiness of your life and of 
your family, if ever you have one, than about your 
estate. 

Sist. You run this matter up to a strange height, 
sister, as if all my felicity consisted in this one 
question, whether my husband be a religious man 
or no ? nay, as if it consisted in his being of the 
same opinion in religion as 1 am of : as if I could 
not be religious though my husband was not so ; or, 
in a word, as if I could not go to heaven without my 
husband. 

Eld. Sist No, sister ; it is you that run it too 
high : I do not say you cannot go to heaven without 
your husband, or you cannot be religious without 
your husband ; but I do say you cannot go com- 
fortably through the journey thither without him, 
or he without you. A woman is to be a helpmate, 
and a man is to be the same : now a husband will 
be a sorry help to a wife, if he is not a help in the 
religious part of her life ; and a sorry help, indeed, 
in the religious part, if he has no sense of it him- 
self. 

Sist But I tell you he has a sense of it, and an 
affection to it. 

Eld. Sist Well, but it will hold in the other part 
of the question too : suppose he has ; yet if his 
sense of religion is not the same with, or agreeable 
to, your sense of it, if he thinks you are going the 
wrong way, and you think he is going the wrong 
way, one pulls this way, and the other pulls that 
way, in religion ; what will this come to in the 
family, sister ? have you considered that ? 

Sist Yes, yes, I have considered it very well. 

Eld. Sist I doubt it, sister ; I doubt you have 
only considered of it so as to resolve not to consider 
of it. 

Sist I have considered it so far as to see that 



188 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



I can do nothing in it any further ; I cannot enter 
into a debate about principles ; tell him what my 
opinion is, and ask him what his opinion is, and try 
beforehand whether they agree or no ; I tell you I 
don't think 'tis my business, any more than the 
talking to him of our settlement ; that's the father's 
part to do : sure my father won't bring an heathen 
to me ! 

Eld. Sist It is true, and that's our misery, that, 
as I said before, we have not a father to concern 
himself in that part for us ; but I do not think it is 
such an improper thing for you to do. Sure, I 
could some way or other bring it in, that I would 
make some guess at him : why you have never 
offered at it in the least, neither has he shown you 
anything of it ; I do not so much as find that he has 
ever gone to church with us since he has appeared 
here so publicly. 

Sist. Why no, that's true ; and I wondered he 
did not, indeed, especially last Sunday, when he 
dined with us ; but he made an excuse that I 
thought was sufficient. 

Eld. Sist. Well ; and would not I have laughed 
at him at night, and asked him if ever he used to 
go to church ? or whether he went to church that 
Sunday, or no ? 

Sist. Why so I did ; and he told me he was 
obliged to go that day to wait upon the marquis de 
Monteleon, the Spanish ambassador. 

Eld. Sist. The Spanish ambassador ! why then 
he was obliged to go to the popish chapel with him 
too ; for the ambassador never fails at that time of 
day. I'll lay an hundred pounds he went to mass 
with him : there's a clue for you, find out that now, 
and your business is done. 

Sist. Dear sister, you are strangely possessed 
with Mr. 's being a papist ; have you any 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



189 



particular notion of it? you perfectly fright me 
about it. 

Eld. Sist. No, indeed, I must confess I have not 
the least ground for it ; I won't do him so much in- 
justice ; but if I were in your case, I would be 
satisfied about it ; I would ask him downright in so 
many words. 

Sist. I would not ask him such a question for an 
hundred pounds. 

Eld. Sist. And I would not marry him, without 
asking him, for ten thousand. 

Sist. Why if I should, and he were really a 
papist, do you think he would be such a fool to 
tell me ? 

Eld. Sist. Perhaps he may be so honest as not 
to deny what he is not ashamed of. 

Sist I should hate him the moment he confessed 
it, not for being a papist, but for showing he had so 
little concern for me, as to venture to own it. 

Eld. Sist. So that you think he ought rather 
to deny his religion, and disown his principles, 
than venture your displeasure ? 

Sist. I should think he was very indifferent, 
whether I was displeased or no, or that he pre- 
sumed upon my being so engaged to him that I 
could not go off ; either of which I should take 
for an un suffer able insolence. 

Eld. Sist. So you would have him conceal his 
principles, and discover them when you could not 
help yourself ; pray which would be the greater 
insult ? 

Sist. You strive to push me into a strait, but 
I have a medium again that delivers me from the 
necessity on either side, and that is, to shake off 
the suspicion ; and seeing you have no real ground 
for it, I cannot see why I should terrify myself with 
a mere jealousy. 



190 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Eld. Sist. I own I have no ground to suppose 
him a papist ; but I would never marry any man in 
the world without knowing what his principles 
are; 'tis no satisfaction to me, to say he's not an 
atheist, he is not a profane despiser of religion. 
Negatives are a poor foundation, sister, to go upon 
in a case of such consequence ; if he is of any reli- 
gion he should tell it me, or I would have nothing 
to say to him. 

Sist. Why, I told you, he said in particular, 
that he was of the Church of England, as by law 
established. 

Eld. Sist. Why first, dear sister, I told you that's 
nothing but what any papist may say, even without 
a dispensation ; but, however, it seems he did 
not say that, but in a way of discourse to other 
people ; he did not say so seriously, in answer to 
any inquiry of yours, or to give you satisfaction. 

Sist. No, that's true ; I have not desired any 
satisfaction of him ; for I take those casual, occa- 
sional discoveries of himself, to have more of nature 
in them, and to be less liable to suspicion, than a 
formal, studied answer, to a jealous or doubting 
question ; and I have many reasons for my opinion 
too. 

Eld. Sist. Why that may be true ; but I cannot 
think that such occasional, cursory speeches, can 
have solid foundation enough to satisfy you in a 
thing of such moment ; and I think I have the 
testimony of the fathers of our Reformation on my 
side, who, without doubt, saw in it the great weight 
that lies on this part, viz., of the advantage and 
necessity that there is, that husband and wife should 
be of the same opinion in religion one with an- 
other; when they appointed, with the office of matri- 
mony, that the communion be given to the married 
couple at every wedding; that it might appear 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



191 



not only that they both made a profession of the 
Christian religion, but that they both agreed in the 
profession of the same principles, and joined to- 
gether in the same communion with the reformed 
protestant churches, and with one another. And I 
think this is enough to convince you of the justice 
of our mother's injunctions, that we should not 
marry any man, how religious soever he was, unless 
he was of the same opinion in religion with our- 
selves ; or, as I observed above, that, as was the 
custom, the man and the wife might communicate 
together. 

Sist I take that to be done principally to pre- 
vent protestants marrying with papists, and to dis- 
cover the fraud, if there was any ; you see that 
practice is left off now. 

Eld. Sist. I know it is left off, since other and 
lesser differences among protestants have made 
mutual communion more difficult ; but I think the 
reason of the thing remains, viz., that every 
couple should know what communion they are of, 
and should be always, if possible, sincere without 
constraint, of the same communion with one an- 
other. 

Sist I rather think 'tis left off because it is not 
thought to be of so much moment as they thought it 
of then. 

Eld. Sist. That is, then, because religion itself is 
less in fashion than it used to be, which, indeed, is 
too true ; also marriages are now wholly taken up 
with mirth and gay things ; but in those days ma- 
trimony seems to have been understood, as it really 
is in itself, a solemn and serious thing ; not to 
be ventured on rashly, considered of slightly, or per- 
formed with levity and looseness : 'tis a transaction 
of the greatest weight, attended with circumstances 



192 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



of the greatest importance, and consequences of the 
utmost concern to our welfare or misery. The 
happiness of life, the prosperity of families, and, 
indeed, the interest of the soul, is exceedingly de- 
pendent upon the good or bad conduct of both 
parties in this great affair ; and to run headlong 
upon it, is rightly compared to a horse rushing into 
the battle, and argues a miserable thoughtlessness 
of what is before us. 

Sist. Dear sister, you terrify me with talking 
thus. What is it you would have me do ? 

Eld. Sist. 1 would have you take some measures, 
such as opportunity will not fail, in your conversa- 
tion with this gentleman, to present you with, that 
you may know not only negatively that he is no 
hater and despiser of God and religion, but posi- 
tively what his principles in religion are ; you may 
go as far further as you see room for it, but less 
than this you can never be satisfied with ; and can 
never answer it to God, to yourself, your mother's 
dying injunctions, nor to your children, if you 
should have any, to venture upon marrying him 
without it. 

Sist. If Mr. heard your discourse, he 

would think you were very much his enemy. 

Eld. Sist. If he was in his senses, he would think 
me very much his friend. 

Sist. No, no, quite the contrary, I assure you. 

Eld. Sist. Pray, my dear, let me ask you one 
question ; for I must own to you this is one of my 
great suspicions ; Has he inquired nothing after 
your religion, the profession you make, or the opi- 
nion you are of? Has he asked you no question 
about that neither ? 

Sist No, not a word ; he knows better ; he knows 
I should give him but a short answer, if he should 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



193 



ask me anything about my religion. What do you 
think I'll be catechised already ? No, no : it is not 
come to that neither. 

Eld. Sist. This is one of the strongest grounds of 
suspicion to me, and assures me that he has very 
little regard to religion in general; that he can 
pretend to marry you, and know nothing whether 
you are a heathen or a Christian, an atheist or reli- 
gious person, a papist or a protestant ; the man can 
have no great value for religion that is so little con- 
cerned whether his wife has any or no ; for I take 
the thing to weigh as much on one side as on the 
other, where there is any serious consideration at 
bottom. 

Sist. Indeed we have had no discourse about 

it. 

Eld. Sist. It seems you are pretty well agreed; 
that is to say, that neither of you trouble your 
heads about it : I must confess, I think it will be a 
dreadful match. 

Sist. Why so ? I tell you I have a way to pre- 
vent all the mischief you fear, and that is, as I told 
you before, I am resolved we will agree ; for if he 
is not of my opinion, I will be of his opinion, and so 
we will never have any strife. 

Eld. Sist. But suppose you cannot do this ; for 
I take all that for loose talk : for example, suppose 
he should be a papist. 

Sist. I won't so much as suppose such a thing : I 
wonder you can suggest it of him. 

Eld. Sist. You seem to be very much in the 
fashion of our city ladies, sister ; I am sorry for it. 

Sist. What fashion's that, sister ? 

Eld. Sist. Wliy, of reserving their choice of prin- 
ciples, till they see what principles their husbands 
shall be of. 

Sist. And is it not a very obliging custom, sister, 
r. c. o 



194 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



in young ladies ; I think the gentlemen owe them a 
great deal for so much complaisance. 

Eld. Sist. There seems to be something of fore- 
cast in it, I confess, viz., that they may be in a pos- 
ture to take anything that offers ; but there is no- 
thing of serious religion in it. 

Sist. Well, there is a great deal of good humour 
in it ; and it takes off the occasions of religious dis- 
putes afterward, which I take to be the worst kind 
of family breaches. 

Eld. Sist But is not a concurrence of principles 
beforehand a much better way, especially consider- 
ing that the inquiry is made during a state of dis- 
tance, and while there is power of preventing the 
mischiefs of being unequally yoked ? 

Sist Well, I am persuaded there never was 
such a thing done, except by my stiff, formal sister : 
Did ever a young gentleman, when he came to 
court his mistress, examine her, to know her prin- 
ciples, and ask her what religion she was of? Or 
did ever young lady, when she was courted by any 
gentleman, set up to catechise him upon the 
articles of his creed, except, as I say, my surly 
sister ? 

Eld. Sist Let me answer that question with a 
question, sister : Did ever a young lady, that had 
any regard to religion, and the future happiness of 
her life, suffer herself to be courted two months by 
a strange person coming out of Italy, from the very 
bowels of superstition, and the very kingdom of 
popery, and go on with him even to drawing of 
writings, and never know what religion he was of, 
or whether he had any religion or no ; except 
that she had heard by accident that he was not an 
atheist ? 

Sist Well, I must take him for better and for 
worse, you know ; I'll make the best of him I can. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



195 



Eld. Sist. I am very sorry that I can't prevail 
with you to prevent your own misfortunes, when it 
is so easy to be done. 

Sist. You propose what I cannot so much as 
mention to him ; I tell you it would be the rudest 
thing ; I'm sure if he should do so to me, I should 
spit in his face, and bid him go and look for 
one that was religious enough for him ; sure, never 
any such thing was done in the world ! 

Eld. Sist. I wonder you can talk so, sister ! Do 

you not remember the passages about Mr. , 

when he courted my cousin ? Did he not 

enter into a most serious, pretty discourse with her, 
about religion, when we were all at table with 
them? And don't you remember we all said, ay 
and you too, sister, when you heard it, that he did 
it with so much modesty, and so handsomely, that 
nothing could be more becoming ? And did not you, 
as well as I, call her a thousand fools for pretending 
to be disgusted at it. 

Sist. But she took ill his public manner of doing 
it, which I think was wrong too. 

Eld. Sist. But I find you don't know or don't re- 
member the rest of the story ; she exposed herself 
to the last degree by resenting it: the case was 
this : the gentleman had courted her some weeks, 
and liked her, nay, loved her very well, but was 
greatly perplexed to find out what taste of religion 
his mistress had ; he was loath to fall point-blank 
upon her with the question, just as you say, in 
your case, yet he was not willing to be satisfied 
with a second-hand relation neither ; but one day 
when we were all together at my cousin's, the 
young gentleman supped there, and after supper 
her mother and he and I entering into a discourse 
together of several matters, at last we began to talk 
of religion, and particularly of religious matches, 

o 2 



196 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



when we were agreeably surprised to hear him talk 
for near half an hour wholly upon that subject ; you 
were not there just when he talked of it, but we all 
gave you an account of it. 

Sist. I was not there ; I supped at London that 
night, and came to you the next day, I suppose. 

Eld. Sist. You did so ; but it would have 
pleased vou to have heard him talk ; he began with 
the meaning and nature of religion, how it con- 
sisted chiefly in natural duties, the effects of the 
knowledge and acknowledgment of a God govern- 
ing the world, to whom we owed the homage of our 
lives, and of all we enjoyed, and must account for 
the use or abuse of them : then he observed how 
pleasant and agreeable a religious life was, how it 
was religion alone that made life happy, families 
pleasant, society agreeable, and relations comfort- 
able ; how miserably some families were brought up 
for want of it ; how beautiful it was to see an unity 
between relations in matters of that nature, and 
how dreadful the strife was in families where it was 
otherwise. 

Sist. Where was she all the while ? 
Eld. Sist. She sat just by him, and he held her 
by the hand all the while : he went on then to tell 
us a great many pleasant stories of families that he 
had known : how in some the husband was re- 
ligious, and the wife atheistic and profane ; and in 
others the wife was religious, and the husband 
rakish, loose, and profligate ; and how miserable the 
one made the life of the other. Then he gave him- 
self a loose to talk of the constant, never-failing fe- 
licity of families where there was a harmony in re- 
ligious things between husband and wife ; and then 
to try her, I suppose, or perhaps to prevent her 
thinking he pointed his discourse at her, he turned 
to her, and smiling, My dear, says he, if there be 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



197 



any defect, on that account, between you and I, 
'twill be on my side ; but I hope to be helped for- 
ward by you. 

Sist That was a kind of a wheedle, rather than a 
serious turn in his talk ; and I suppose she took it 
so. 

Eld. Sist No, she took it otherwise, I assure 
you ; for he might easily see she was not pleased : 
however, he went on, and told us a long story of a 
couple that were married, and were both very re- 
ligious, and yet, said he, they never had any hap- 
piness, any agreement, or any practical religion in 
the family : this put me upon inquiry into the cir- 
cumstances of it ; Why madam, says he, one was of 
one opinion in religion, and one was of another ; 
both of them were tenacious of their own opinion, 
and censorious of the other : one went to one place 
to worship, and one to another : one prayed to God 
in one part of the house, and one in another. 
Why, says I, they prayed to the same God I hope ; 
sure charity might have taught them to have 
prayed together ! So far from that, madam, says 
he, that they not only never prayed with one an- 
other, but I believe they scarce ever prayed for one 
another, in their lives, but looked upon one another 
as heathens and publicans, and such as God himself 
would not hear. 

This was a sad family, sir, said I ; but I hope 
there are very few such in this nation, where re- 
ligion is so heartily espoused. Truly, madam, says 
he, it may teach us what occasion there is for us to 
seek out for religious wives, and to take care to be 
agreeable husbands to them, when we have them : 
and here he said a great many handsome things in- 
deed, of the little concern men generally took upon 
themselves either to marry religious wives, or to see 



198 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



that the opinions of those they married were not 
too much shocking with their own ; and especially 
that when men had religious wives, or women had 
religious husbands, they did not study, as much as 
lay in them, on both sides, to bring their opinions to 
agree with one another, bearing with one another, 
yielding as much as possible to one another, and the 
like ; that, as the Scripture said, their prayers might 
not be hindered. 

Sist. Well, and was this the discourse that she 
did not like ? 

Eld. Sist. I am sure her mother and I liked it ; 
but she behaved herself so simply about it the next 
day, that gave him a surfeit of her religion, and he 
declined her afterwards upon that very account: 
for as he told me since very seriously, she discovered 
such a temper at that time, such a general dislike 
of a religious life, and of a regular family, that made 
him particularly afraid of her. 

Sist. Ay, ay, he should have gone, if he was so 
nice ; I should have liked his discourse no better 
than she did. 

Eld. Sist. How can you say so, sister, when you 
cannot but remember how you did like it when you 
heard of it ? 

Sist I should have thought it was too public 
though, and that it was a kind of forcing me to a 
necessity of giving an account of my opinions, 
whether I would or no. 

Eld. Sist. Well, what you would have done I 
know not ; but I think no woman in her senses 
could have disliked such principles as he went upon ; 
it plainly showed her that he was a man that placed 
the principal felicity of his life upon having a reli- 
gious wife, a religious conversation in his family, 
and a religious government of it as it increased. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



199 



Sist. What was that to the purpose ? she would 
have had him without it, and he might have talked 
of it afterwards. 

Eld. Sist. Yes, yes, she would have had him with- 
out it, that was her folly : but he was resolved he 
would not have her without it, and that was his 
wisdom ; and there was an absolute necessity for 
him to try beforehand what he had to expect. 

Sist. Well, I would not have been tried by him ; 
he should e'en have gone, I say, and taken a fool for 
his own finishing, where he could have found her. 

Eld. Sist. Well, and he did go ; and you know he 
married afterwards a very sensible, sober and reli- 
ous woman, and they are a very happy family as an}^ 
I know; whereas our foolish cousin, you see, has 
married a rake ; a fellow of no religion, and is as 
miserable almost as it is possible for a woman that 
has a good estate to be made in this world. 

Sist. Well, sister, and how do you bring this story 
down to my case ? I hope I am not going to marry 
a rake, as she has done ; if I thought it was so, I 
would soon clear myself. 

Eld. Sist. No, no, sister, I do not say so ; but 
there are many kinds of husbands to make a sober 
woman miserable, besides rakes, that I assure you ; 
nor was it upon that account I told you the story. 

Sist. What about differing in opinions you mean? 
I must confess, I think, sister, you are too nice in 
that case, and run it up, I say, too high : I can give 
many instances where such matches do very well. 

Eld. Sist. Pretty well, you should have said ; and 
I know where you are agoing to name a family ; I 

suppose you mean our cousin Martha , and 

our friend James ; one a strict church- 
woman, and the other a quaker. 

Sist. Well, suppose I did mean those ; they live 
very comfortably, and love one another very well. 



200 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Eld. Sist. I am glad you have named them, be- 
cause I would argue from the best example you can 
give : I allow they live as well as 'tis possible for 
two of so wide and irreconcileable principles to do, 
and it is owing to a world of good humour, affection, 
and charity, in both of them ; but if you think there 
is not something wanting between them, which ought 
to be between a man and his wife, something essential 
to what we call happiness, something they would 
give half their estate to have, and the want of which 
robs them of the sweetest part of relation, and of the 
best and most solid comfort of a married life ; or if 
you think that they are not both sensible of it, you 
are greatly mistaken. 

Sist. I do not converse much with them, not I ; 
but I know they are a very loving couple, and every- 
body takes notice of it, and admires them for it. 

Eld. Sist. Before I go on where I was speaking, 
let me take notice to you that your very last words 
now are an argument on my side ; it is true, they 
are admired for their kind and pleasant way of 
living one with another ; and why is it ! but because 
it is so seldom, so rare, so wonderful indeed, to find 
two of different opinions agree so well, that all 
people wonder at these two : and shall any young 
woman, that values her peace, and lays any stress 
upon the happiness of an agreement with her 
husband, venture upon such a circumstance, in 
which it must needs be next to a miracle, if she has 
any such happiness? 

Sist. You don't know but there may be many 
more such. 

Eld. Sist. Well, but I'll keep to your own example, 
and I will convince you, sister, that, even in these 
two, who are happy to a miracle, yet there is an ex- 
ception to their felicity ; and, though they love en- 
tirely, and that love covers a multitude of things, 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



201 



yet, I say, they find something wanting, which 
other people have, and something that they would 
be glad to have ; and I have had frequent occasions, 
in serious discourse with her, to hear her speak her 
mind freely to me, in this very case ; particularly I 
will give you one example of it, viz., one Sunday 
morning, when I went to church with her ; O ! said 
she to me, cousin, if I could but get this dear 
Jemmy of mine to go to church with me ! Well, says 
I, what then ? What then ! says she ; why, then I 
should be the happiest woman upon earth : methinks 
'tis the melancholiest thing, continued she, to go 
alone to the worship of God, and the man that I 
love, and is to me as my own soul, won't worship 
with me ; and it breaks my heart ; it quite takes 
away all the comfort of my life. A while after this, 
as we walked along the street to go to church, she 
fetched a deep sigh: What's the matter with you, said 
I, cousin ? The matter, cousin ! says she, look there 

you'll see what's the matter : there's Mrs. , 

with her husband and all her children, going hand 
in hand to serve God together : they live a heavenly 
life ; while we, tho' we love one another better than 
they do a great deal, yet live like two strangers on 
the Sabbath-day, whatever we do all the rest of the 
week. Now what think you of all their apparent 
affection to one another, sister ? will that make up 
the loss? 

Sist They live very comfortably, for all that: and 
their love makes up all those intervals in their satis- 
faction. 

Eld. Sist Well, I'll tell you how comfortably they 
live ; I assure you, though they are patterns to the 
whole world, for extraordinary affection, and their 
love is so uninterrupted, that it does make up abund- 
ance of other things, yet here, I say, it makes up no 



202 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



intervals, I can assure you of it ; nay, I think verily, 
that affection, which it is confessed they have one 
for another, and for which they are both so admired, 
makes it the worse ; at least, it makes it the more 
grievous to bear ; and the part I am telling you will 
prove it ; pray let me go on with it : I came back 
with her and dined ; and after dinner, honest James 
takes up his gloves and his cane, and came and kissed 
her, and prepares to go to the quaker's meeting. 
She could hold no longer then, but burst out into 
tears ; he was extremely anxious to know what ailed 
her, but she could not speak ; she was unwilling to 
grieve him, and unwilling to say anything that was 
unkind ; he pressed her a long time, and said a 
thousand tender, kind things, that I hardly expected 
from him ; but that made her cry the more. At 
last, I said to him smiling, I know what troubles her 
but you won't relieve her : Won't I, said he, a little 
moved, why dost thou say so ? I would let out my 
blood to do her any good ; and she knows that I will 
stick at nothing to do for her. Why, says I, you 
won't serve God with her. Won't I, said he, yes I 
would with all my heart, if she would let me. This, 
I found, laid a foundation for some dispute about 
their principles, but she wisely avoided that, and I 
perceived it, so I put it off: I dare say, says I, she 
would give all she has in the world you would 
but go to church with her now. At that she 
burst out, though full of tears. Ay, says she, I 
would give him back my jointure with all my heart. 
He took her in his arms, and with all the tenderest 
and kindest expressions that he was capable of, en- 
deavoured to pacify her, and put an end to it, as a 
thing they could not dispute of without unkindness, 
and therefore better to be avoided : but it took up 
the whole afternoon to restore them one to another, 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



203 



and she neither went to the church, nor he to the 
meeting, and yet here was nothing but kindness and 
affection between them all this while. 

Sist. I never heard anything of this before. 

Eld. Sist. But I have heard a great deal more 
from her, and from him too ; though she loves him 
to an extremity, and, to give him his due, he merits 
all her affection, yet as she is a very sober, religious 
woman, she is ready to break her heart to think 
sometimes what a life she lives, she can scarce ever 
talk to me of anything else; I having been some- 
thing more intimate with her on these occasions 
than ordinary. 

Sist. What has she to complain of? Has she 
not a kind husband ? And does he not give her 
all the liberty and freedom in the world ? Does she 
not go as fine, and dress as well as she pleases? Does 
he not keep her a coach, and give her leave to give 
her own liveries, and go where, and do what she 
will ? Does she not live like a queen ? What can 
she complain of? 

Eld. Sist. Her case, in a word, sister, is the very 
case our dear mother warned us of; and it is not 
hard to tell you what she has to complain of ; she is 
a very sober, religious woman, that serves God night 
and day, with a sincerity and devotion not easy to 
be found among women, as the world goes now, 
and I'll tell you what grieves her, and what she 
complains of : her husband is as religious too, in his 
way, as she is in hers ; but as there is no harmony 
or concurrence in their several principles and ways 
of worship, so there can be no public, stated, family 
worship. He does not join with her, nor she can- 
not join with them ; so all the thing called family 
religion, the glory of a married state, and the com- 
fort of family society, is entirely lost ; the servants 
are left ungoverned, the children unguided; and 



204 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



there again is her grief doubled, she has four little 
children. It is true he is a man of too good a hu- 
mour to deny or restrain her in the education of 
her children ; but it is a sad thing to her to be 
obliged to instruct and caution her children against 
the practice of their father, whose life ought to be 
their pattern, and his practice their example. O 
sister ! if ever you come to look into such a condi- 
tion with a feeling sense of it, as your own, you 
will find it is not all the tenderness of the most 
affectionate husband in the world can make up the 
loss of these things. On the other hand, he has his 
dissatisfaction too ; he is as sad on the account of 
her difference from him, as she is for his difference 
from her ; so that, in short, the unhappiness is 
mutual. 

Sist. They should have considered and prevented 
these things beforehand. 

Eld. Sist. That's true, sister ; and that's the rea- 
son of all my discourse to you ; that's my proposal 
to you, and the reason why I press you so much to 
come to a certainty in these things. You will have 
sad reflections hereafter, when 'tis past remedy. 

Sist. I am not so nice in the point ; I told you 
my remedy for it ; if he can't come up to me, 1 can 
come up to him ; I am sure he is no quaker. 

Eld. Sist. I hear you, sister ; you make light of 
it now. I believe he is no quaker, but he may be 
worse; and you are not sure he will equal that 
quaker in goodness of humour, kindness, and affec- 
tion, the want of which, I must tell you, will make 
the want of the other be so much the worse to 
bear. 

Sist. Well, I must run the venture of it, I 
think ; 'tis gone too far to break off now. 

Eld. Sist. I have not been persuading you to 
break it off, sister, you mistake me; I am only 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHir. 



205 



arguing, or rather persuading you to inform your- 
self of things, and know beforehand what you are 
going to do, that you may not run into misery 
blindfold, and make your marriage be, as old Hobbes 
said of his death, a leap in the dark. 

Sist I think all marriages are a leap in the dark 
in one respect or another. 

Eld. Sist. Well, sister, if it be so, it should not 
be so in matters of religion in whatever other case 
it is so ; that should be clear, whatever is doubtful ; 
that should be examined into, and perfectly dis- 
covered, whatever is omitted : the mistakes in this 
are fatal to both sides, and often irretrievable, and 
the consequences dismal. 

Sist. It is all a hazard, and that amongst the rest. 
Eld. Sist. No, no, sister ; I am firm in my opi- 
nions ; you and I have often argued it when you 
seemed to be of my mind. It is true there is a 
hazard in every part of the change of life ; we risk 
our peace, our affection, our liberty, our fortunes, 
but we ought never to risk our religion. 

Sist. Why I am not running the risk of my own 
religion, though I do not know his. 

Eld. Sist. Yes, truly, in some measure, sister, 
you do, and your own words acknowledged it just 
now. Did you not say, that if he would not be of 
your opinion, you would be of his ? And is it not 
often that we see young women change their opi- 
nions, nay, change the very principles of their reli- 
gion, in compliance with their husbands ? 
Sist. Well, and is it not very well to do so ? 
Eld. Sist. If their principles were ill-founded be- 
fore, they do well to change them, to be sure; but 
is it not oftener that they rather abandon principle, 
than exchange it ; lose their religion, than increase 
it ? For you cannot suggest, that all the women 
who have changed their opinions, in compliance 



206 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



with their husbands, were wrong before, and have 
changed for the better. 

Sist. It is better so far, that it takes away the 
foundation of family breaches, which you speak of. 

Eld. Sist. But it is a sad exchange if it be 
wrong; for the woman then exchanges the peace 
of her conscience for peace with her husband ; 
loses her religion, and gives up her principles in- 
stead of exchanging them for better. 

Sist. There may be some compliance sure, with- 
out entirely abandoning principle ; you propose 
no medium between right and wrong. 

Eld. Sist. Why, take our cousin we were speak- 
ing of, or her husband the quaker, let them stand 
for the example. Suppose she, in compliance 
with him, (for you know she has affection enough to 
do any possible thing to oblige him,) should turn 
quaker, would she not retain a sting in her soul 
that would destroy all her inward peace ? 

Sist. I don't know what to say to that. Quakers 
are Christians, I hope. 

Eld. Sist. I won't enter into that ; I'll allow 
them to be Christians too ; but take it of him, as 
well as of her ; suppose him to change then, and 
come over to her, then it would be the same in 
him ; which is all one to the case in hand. Pray, 
where is the felicity of such a match, where one or 
other is supposed to act without conscience, or 
against conscience, all their days, for conjugal peace, 
and to sacrifice principle to affection ? Are not 
these still invincible arguments for what I am per- 
suading to ? 

Sist. I scarce know what you are persuading to, 
not I. 

Eld. Sist. Yes, you do, sister, very well ; how- 
ever, I'll repeat it as often as you say so. I am 
urging the necessity of young people comparing 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



207 



their religious principles and opinions before mar- 
riage ; and seeing that they agree, at least so far as 
to lay no foundation of a religious breach in the 
family after marriage ; that they may worship God 
together, join in family precepts, and support 
family religion ; that they may agree in their in- 
structions to their children, and join in setting 
them examples ; that there may be no disputings 
or dividings against one another, but a mutual har- 
mony in the propagating their own eternal inte- 
rests, and that they may go hand in hand the true 
way to heaven. 

Sist. And cannot this happen to them without a 
settlement of circumstances beforehand, that we 
must capitulate about religion as we do about join- 
tures, and settle principles as we do fortunes, always 
beforehand ? 

Eld. Sist. That it may not or cannot happen so, 
I will not say ; but if you will take the world at 
large, as it is now stated, between those that have no 
religion at all, and those who differ from others, you 
must allow, sister, it is a lottery of a thousand blanks 
to one prize ; and who that values their own peace 
would venture the odds ? 

Sist. I believe I shall venture, for all that. 

Eld. Sist. Then either you have no principle now, 
sister, or it is ten to one but you give it up when 
you are married. 

Sist. Perhaps you may be mistaken in both. 

Eld. Sist. If I am, there is a third, which I was 
going to add, but restrained it in respect to you, in 
which I believe I shall not be mistaken. 

Sist. Let us have it, however. 

Eld. Sist. If you will have it then, it is this : that 
(to repeat the former) either, as I said, you have 
no principle now, or will give up your principles 



208 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



when you are married, or will be very miserable 
in a continual family strife to maintain them. 

Sist. It must all be ventured, sister ; I see no 
remedy now : there's no going back at this time of 
day. 

After this discourse, the eldest sister, seeing her 
resolute, gave it over, and the young lady was as 
good as her word ; for she put it all to the venture, 
as will appear in the following dialogue. 

The end of the first dialogue. 



DIALOGUE II. 

The young lady mentioned in the foregoing dialogue 
is now to be viewed in another station of life : she 
was not altogether so thoughtless of her circum- 
stance, or so unconcerned as she seemed to be by 
her discourse to her sister, about what was before 
her, but she had not the conduct or resolution of 
her sisters to carry her through : however, she did 
take one step sufficient to leave a sad example of 
a father perfectly unconcerned about the religious 
settlement of his children, and making the good of 
their souls no part of his care. 

It was but a few days after the discourse which 
she had held with her sister, that her father and she 
had the following dialogue one evening, after the 
gentleman who courted her was gone away: her 
father, being in a parlour all alone, called her to 
him, and began with her thus : — 

Fa. Well, child, I suppose your ceremonies begin 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



209 



to be pretty well over now ; when are we to bring 
this business to a conclusion ? 
Da. I am in no haste, sir. 

Fa. Well, but Mr. is in haste ; you may 

be sure he would be willing to have the inconveni- 
ences of coming and going thus late be over ; and 
as long as both sides are satisfied, why should we 
keep him in suspense ? 

Da. I do not keep him in suspense, sir. 

Fa. Well then, if you are agreed, let us put an 
end to it, my dear, and tell me what day you will be 
married, and I'll make the appointment. 

Da. Agreed, sir ! I have agreed to nothing, it is 
all between him and you. 

Fa. How do you mean, child ? he has now waited 
on you these six or seven weeks : I hope you know 
one another's minds before now. 

Da. We have spent six or seven weeks, indeed, 
in his visits, talking and rattling of things in general, 
but I am not much the wiser for it. 

Fa. Why you are a little better acquainted, I 
hope, than you were at first, child : do you like the 
gentleman, or have you anything to object ? 

Da. Sir, I don't trouble myself much with ob- 
jections ; I leave it all to you. sir ; I resolve to do 
as you will have me to do : I won't do as my sister 
did. 

Fa. Well, you are in the right there ; but I hope 
there is no occasion, neither : this gentleman is a 
man of sobriety, and of a good character. 

Da. I hope, sir, you have informed yourself fully 
of that ; for I leave it all to you, sir ; and about his 
religion too. 

Fa. I have known him a great many years, child : 
he is a very honest, good sort of a gentleman, I as- 
sure you. 

Da. I hope you have good grounds to be satis- 
r. c. p 



210 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



fied, sir ; for I depend upon you, sir, for everything : 
I know you would not propose him to me if he was 
not a very sober, good man. 

Fa. I am thoroughly satisfied of that, my dear. 

Da. And of his being a religions person, sir ? 
you know what my mother obliged us to on her 
death-bed : I hope, sir, you have a good account 
of his being a sober, religious man ? I leave all to 
you, sir. 

Fa. Yes, yes, my dear, he is a very religious, good 
man, for aught I know, I assure you. 

Da. He is a protestant, sir, is he not ? 

Fa. A protestant, child ! yes, yes, he was always 
a protestant all the while I traded with him : I have 
had an account of it from several people. A pro- 
testant ! yes, yes, you may be sure he is a protest- 
ant ; I dare say he is. 

Da. Well, sir, if you are satisfied, I have no more 
to say. 

Fa. Nay, child, why dost thou put it so all upon 
me? I believe he is a good man, and religious 
enough : I didn't bring him up, nor I ha'n't asked 
him how religious he is ; I do not enter into these 
things with folks ; every one's religion is to himself. 

Da. Well, sir, if you are satisfied, I must be satis- 
fied, to be sure. 

Fa. Nay, I would have you be satisfied too, 
child ; can't you ask him what religion he is of? 

{Here the father seemed a little unwilling to have 
it all lie upon him.) 

Da. I can't ask him such a question, not I ; 
besides, sir, if you are satisfied, I shall look no fur- 
ther. 

Fa. I know not what occasion there is to be so 
scrupulous ; you see what ridiculous work your sister 
made of it, and yet married the same man two years 
after. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP, 



211 



Da. Sir, I don't make any scruples, not I, if you 
are satisfied ; I shall do as you would have me : I 
don't suppose you would have me have him, if he 
wan't a very sober man. 

( She has nothing in her but the same dull story 
of doing everything her father ivould have her do.) 

Fa. 1 tell thee, child, I dare say he is a very 
sober, good man, and will make a very kind husband ; 
I can say no more to thee. 

Da. All I desire to know is, that he is a protest- 
ant ; I hope you are sure of that, sir. 

Fa. Dear child, what makes thee talk so ? 

Da. He has lived a long while in Italy, sir, where, 
they say, they are all papists. 

Fa. Why, so did I, child, when I was a young 

man, but never turned papist : I dare say Mr. 

is a protestant ; I never heard any one suspect him 
before. 

It may be seen by this dull and empty discourse 
on both sides, that this poor young lady went on 
tanquam boves, like the ox to the slaughter ; not 
knowing, or not considering, that it was for her life : 
she resolved all her scruples into that weak way of 
answering, 'I leave it all to you, sir ; I hope you are 
satisfied, sir ; and I'll do as you would have me, sir,' 
and the like ; not considering that she had a father 
that laid no stress upon anything but the money ; 
his whole care was for the settlement and the estate, 
not inquiring into the principles of the person ; and 
therefore his answers are as silly for a father as 
hers were for a wife, viz., that he dare say the gen- 
tleman was a very sober, good man, that he had 
known him a long time, and did not question but he 
was a protestant, and the like. In a word, the girl 
left it all to her father ; and the father, perfectly in- 
different as to matters of religion, left it out of his 

r 2 



212 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



inquiry. And thus they were married in a few 
weeks after ; and abundance of mirth and jollity 
they had, which covered all the appearances of other 
things for a great while. 

At length, the lady went home to her house in 
the city, which was magnificently furnished : among 
other rich furniture, the rooms were exceedingly 
stored with a noble collection of very fine paintings, 
done by the best masters in Italy ; the part of Italy 
where this gentleman had lived, viz., the duke of 
Tuscany's country, being particularly eminent for 
choice pictures. It happened, after she had been 
some time at home, had settled her house, and had 
finished the decorations of her rooms, that her 
husband bringing some very fine pictures home, 
which were newly arrived from Italy, has, among 
others, three very choice pieces hung up in their 
bedchamber ; whereof one being a picture of the 
Crucifixion, extremely valuable and fine, he con- 
trived to have hanged up by the bed-side. 

His wife, not used to such things, perfectly igno- 
rant of the design, not at all acquainted with the 
use made of them in popish countries, took no 
manner of notice of it at first, taking it to be only 
brought in there, as it was a most noble piece of 
painting ; and that her husband thought it was the 
best thing he could grace her chamber with. It 
happened her two sisters came together some time 
after, as is usual, to see her house, and to see the 
fine collection of paintings, which they had been 
told so much of : and after some time, their sister 
and their new brother led them through all the 
apartments, which were indeed extremely fine: the 
brother-in-law, as what he took great delight in, 
made it his business to tell them the design of the 
several pictures, what places or fine houses such 
and such represented, what stories and what faces 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



213 



others were drawn for, and the like ; and being his 
wife's sisters, he treated them with all the freedom 
and kindness imaginable. 

When they came to the Crucifixion, which hung 
by the bed-side, he told them there was one of the 
finest pieces of painting in England ; told them the 
name of the painter that had drawn it, who, he 
said, was one of the best masters in Italy ; and I'll 
assure you, sister, says he, this is counted a fine 
thing in Italy. 

But why must it hang in your bedchamber, 
brother ? says the other married sister, not suspect- 
ing anything ; for her eldest sister had not told her 
anything of what she had said to her sister. O 
madam, says he, they always have these things in 
their bedchambers in Italy, on a religious account. 
Well, says the sister, but as we do not make use of 
them that way, methinks they are better anywhere 
else. Why sister, says he, our bedchambers are 
places where we are, or ought to be most serious. 
Why, says she again, but we that are protestants do 
not make a religious use of them. Not so much 
perhaps, says he, as the Romans do ; but I cannot 
say but they may be useful to assist devotion. Not 
at all, says the sister. At least, madam, says he, 
they can be no disadvantage to us ; we want all 
possible helps in our adorations. We have the 
promise of the Spirit of God to assist us, says the 
sister, very warmly, and need no idolatrous pictures. 
He saw she was tart, and seemed to be forward to 
dispute, which he avoided; so he called them to 
look on another picture, and that passed off the dis- 
course. 

After they had gone through several apartments, 
and had admired the fine paintings, as indeed they 
well deserved, they came to his closet ; he would 
have avoided going in, and told them it was in con- 



214 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



fusion, and not worth their seeing ; but his wife 
having told them it was her husband's closet, they 
would not be denied: when they went in, they 
were surprised with the most charming pictures 
that their eyes had ever beheld, with abundance of 
rarities, which their brother, being very curious, 
had picked up in his travels ; and in a little room 
on one side of his closet, upon a table covered with 
a carpet of the finest work they had ever seen, stood 
a pix or repository of the host, all of gold, and 
above them an altar-piece of most exquisite paint- 
ing : he was indeed jealous of being betrayed by 
these things, but there being none but the ladies, 
who had never seen such things before, and knew 
nothing by the form, they retired without so much 
as discovering what it was ; and as for his wife, she 
was so perfectly ignorant, that she was easily im- 
posed upon. 

They passed from this place to the other side of 
the closet, where were abundance of very fine 
pieces ; bat here the eldest sister could not forbear 
observing that all the pictures on that whole side of 
the room were religious pieces, and, though still 
without much suspicion, she said to him, I observe, 
brother, you gentlemen that have lived in Italy, are 
so in love with popish customs, that you are always 
full of these church paintings ; here's nothing but 
representations of Christ and the Virgin Mary, in 
one shape or another, in every room in your house : 
she went on jestingly for some time, till she came 
to the upper end of the room, to a picture which 
hung just over an easy chair, and which had a cur- 
tain drawn over it ; he thought she would not have 
let her curiosity outrun her good manners, and so 
did not apprehend her opening it ; but she made no 
scruple of offering to fling back the curtain ; but 
soon found it would not run back, being, as she 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



215 



found afterwards, to draw up in festoons with 
pulleys : however, she discovered by what she had 
done, that the picture was the same with that in the 
bedchamber, viz., a large crucifix, or picture of the 
Crucifixion. 

She said no more, but hastened to view what was 
further to be seen, yet so as that it was easy to 
discover she was in no little disorder. Her sister 
that came with her, discovered it first, and asked 
what ailed her. Then the new-married sister, 
whose house she was in, came to her with the same 
question ; she owned to them she was not very 
well, and that presently gave her an excuse to with- 
draw into the woman's apartment, where she had 
some room to recollect herself : however, she took 
care not to give the least cause to suspect what 
ailed her, till she got an opportunity, when nobody 
was in the room with her but her youngest sister, 
(she who was first married,) and then she burst out 
into tears, and taking her sister about the neck, 
with the greatest passion imaginable ; O my dear 
sister, says she, this poor child is utterly undone. 
Undone ! says her sister, what do you mean ? I 
think she is nobly married. O sister ! I tell you 
she is undone ; the man's a papist ! Somebody 
came into the room just as she had said this, so that 
her sister had no time to ask her any further ; and 
she, to prevent it, added, I'll tell you more by and 
by ; so they passed it over. 

You may be sure it was, after this, a very uneasy 
hour the two sisters spent in the ceremonies of 
their visit, both longing earnestly to be at liberty to 
talk together, one to disburden her mind, which 
was oppressed with what she had formerly suspected, 
and now found confirmed ; and the other to hear 
the particulars of what she was so surprised at. 

It was not long before they got away, and as soon 



216 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



as ever they were in the coach, the married sister 
said, Dear sister, you have so surprised me with 
what you told me just now, that I thought every 
minute an hour till I got away, that I might talk 
about it ; I entreat you what makes you talk as you 
do? 

Eld. Sist. O sister ! I am too well satisfied of it ; 
I am sure 'tis so : I suspected it all along, before 
they were married, but now I am convinced of it ; 
I am as sure of it as if I had seen him at high 
mass. 

(Here she tells her what she had observed upon 
his pictures and crucifixes.) 

Married Sist. Now you surprise me again ; you 
say you suspected it all along. 

Eld. Sist. Indeed I did ; though I own I know no 
reason why I did so. 

Mar. Sist. But why did you not warn her of it ? 
she ought to have known of it ; certainly she would 
never have married him if she had known it : that 
was very unkind not to warn her of it. 

Eld. Sist. I did very plainly tell her my suspicions ; 
but as I had no ground to fasten it upon him, it 
made very little impression upon her, nor could I 
really say it was so. 

Mar. Sist. Well, I would have pressed her to a 
solemn inquiry into it ; you might have prevented 
her ruin, if you had done it in time ; now she is un- 
done indeed, if it be as you say, and there is no 
room to prevent it. 

Eld. Sist. You cannot think I had so little concern 
for her, as not to tell her my suspicions and to use 
all the arguments I was capable of, to persuade and 
prevail with her to inquire into his principles; for I 
know too well what the dwelling twenty years in 
Italy might do. 

(Here she recites to her the particulars of the 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



217 



whole dialogue foregoing, between her and her 
younger sister,) 

Mar, Sist. Poor child ! she is ruined indeed ; 
she has leaped headlong into it, in spite of good 
advice, and her ruin is of her own procuring : But 
what will you do now, sister ? Will you let her know 
it? 

Eld. Sist. No no ; I won't be the messenger of 
her sorrows, she'll find it out soon enough ; the 
thing will discover itself too soon. 

Mar. Sist. Dear sister, what does my father say 
to it ? Does he know it ? 

Eld. Sist. You know, sister, my father gives 
himself very little trouble about such things ; 1 dare 
say he never inquired into it, or concerned himself 
about it. 

Mar. Sist. Does he know anything of it now ? 

Eld. Sist. Truly, I do not know ; but I know 
that after I had pressed her so earnestly about it 
she did mention it to my father once at a distance 
in their discourse, as that she did not question but 
he was a good, sober man, or else he (her father) 
would not have recommended him ; and added, I 
hope he is a protestant, sir ? 

Mar. Sist. Well, what said my father to that 
part? 

Eld. Sist. He answered after the same slight 
way as those who make the main part none of their 
care : Yes, yes, child ; a protestant ! I dare say he 
is ; he was always a protestant when I was in 
Italy with him, and everybody knows he is a pro- 
testant; and you need not question that, 1 dare 
say. 

Mar. Sist. Poor child ! she had no sincere con- 
cern upon her about it ; if she had, she would not 
have been put off in a matter of so much moment, 



2!8 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



with a bare supposition, taking it for granted ; or I 
dare say 'tis so, without inquiring into it. 

Eld. Sist. It is too true ; she has not made it 
much her concern, and I am so much the more 
afraid for her now. 

Mar. Sist. Afraid for her, say you! What are you 
afraid of her turning papist ? 

Eld. Sist. Why yes, I am : you know I told you 
what an answer she gave me to that very point se- 
veral times, viz., that if he would not be of her 
opinion, she would be of his ; that if he was a 
Christian catholic, she was a catholic Christian, and 
they would have no strife about that, and the like ; 
and yet that is not all my concern neither. 

Mar. Sist. What is it then ? 

Eld. Sist. Why I fear more the insinuations and 
subtlety of his tongue, his unwearied solicitation, 
the powerful motives of a man perfectly master of 
the art of persuasion ; and that the more sweet- 
ness he has in his temper, (for he is really of a 
most engaging disposition,) the more influence his 
words will have on her, to win her over to error, 
not merely in complaisance to him as her husband, 
but by her not being able to answer his reasonings. 

Mar. Sist. I confess, 'tis hard to resist the force 
of those persuasions, the reasons for which we 
cannot rid our hands of by argument : and one is 
apt to think one ought to comply with what we 
cannot confute ; otherwise the papists will tell us 
we are protestants we know not why; a Jew may 
tell us we are Christians, we know not why ; and an 
atheist may tell us we are religious, we know not 
why, and so on. 

Eld. Sist. And that which is worse, there is no 
breaking the thing to her ; to talk to her of it, is to 
anticipate her misfortunes : perhaps he designs to 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



219 



conceal it from her for good and all, and at least it 
may be a great while before she discovers it ; and 
all that time she will be happy in not thinking her- 
self so miserable as she is. 

Mar. Sist. I allow you, it is not fit to mention it 
to her first ; and yet I am afraid, if she finds it out, 
she will endeavour to conceal it from us. 

Eld. Sist. I doubt so ; and by that means we are 
perfectly deprived of all opportunity of assisting her, 
or endeavouring to fortify her against the insinua- 
tions of any to turn her to popery. 

Mar. Sist. But I think we should break it to my 
father. 

Eld. Sist. I know not what to say to that ; I am 
afraid his indifference in the thing should be a means 
to discover it to her, and bring some inconvenience 
or other with it. 

Mar. Sist. I do not see any danger of that : but 
I think 'tis fit he should know it on many accounts. 

Eld. Sist. I acknowledge I think he should know 
it, if it were possible to engage him not to disclose 
it ; but, unless it can be done so, I would not have 
any hand in telling it him, upon any account what- 
ever. 

While they were in this dilemma, and doubtful 
what to do in it, as to telling their father, they 
were delivered from it by their father himself, as 
will appear in the following discourse. As soon as 
they came home, their father began with them ; 
for he was more impatient to open his mind to 
them, than they were on the other hand doubtful 
about consulting with him upon this unhappy case : 
both sides being therefore willing to talk of it, they 
could not want an opportunity ; and the father, after 
supper, began it with his new-married daughter, 
thus : 



220 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Fa. Well, Betty, you have been to visit your 
sister in her new house, I find : how do you like 
things ? 

Mar. Sist. Sir, she is nobly married, to be sure, 
she has a house like a palace. 

Eld. Sist. I think there is the finest paintings 
that ever I saw in my life : he has laid out vast sums 
sure in pictures. 

Fa. He always had the finest collection of paint- 
ings of any merchant in Leghorn : he is a great 
lover of art, and has a nice judgment, which are the 
two only things that can make buying so many pic- 
tures rational ; for his pieces are so well chosen, that 
he may sell them when he pleases for above a thou- 
sand pounds more than they cost. 

Eld. Sist. I like his fancy to pictures very well ; 
but methinks I don't admire his having so many 
crucifixes and church-pieces among them. 

Fa. It is the custom in Italy, child ; all people 
have them. 

Eld. Sist. That is, because they make a religious 
use of them : but I think protestants should not be 
so fond of them, who make no such use of them : it 
looks so like popery, that if the mind was not fur- 
nished against them, it seems to give a life that 
way ; and then I observe he hangs them all just as 
they do : his crucifixes and passion-pictures hang 
all by the bed-side ; his altar-pieces just at the 
upper end of the room, or on the east side ; I can- 
not imagine why protestants, if they will have the 
pictures, should hang them in the same places, and 
mimic the catholics in the appearances, as long as 
they do not make the same use of them. 

This discourse touched their father to the heart, 
and, as he said afterwards, he could hardly forbear 
tears ; but he held it in a little longer, and replied 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



221 



that it was only the custom of the country, and they 
might think no harm in it ; and so being willing to 
put by the discourse, he turns again to his married 
daughter thus : — 

Fa. Well, but child, how do you like your new 
brother ? for you never saw him before, or at least, 
never to converse with him. 

Mar. Sist. He is a very fine gentleman, sir ; I 
was going to wish you joy, sir, and to say I was very 
glad to see my sister so well married, but something 
prevented me. 

(JVow the father could contain himself no longer?) 

Fa. I know not what prevented you, but 1 be- 
lieve it was the same that forces me to tell you 
both I have no joy in it at all : your sister is un- 
done. 

Mar. Sist. Undone, sir ! what do you mean ? what 
can be the matter ? 

Fa. She is undone indeed, child ; and more than 
that, I have undone her : the man's a papist. 

( The father burst out into tears as soon as he had 
spoken the words, and the daughters stood as they 
were speechless for some time, looking at one an- 
other ; at last the married daughter spoke.) 

Mar. Sist. Are you sure of it, sir ? 

Fa. Ay, ay, I am too sure of it : I have lived in 
Italy, and know something of the manner of such 
things ; I presently discovered it. 

Eld. Sist. Will you please to tell us how you dis- 
covered it ? for we have the same thoughts, but we 
durst not speak our minds about it. 

Fa. Child, it is impossible for any one that has 
lived in Italy not to discover it, as soon as he sees 
his house. 

Eld. Sist. What, from the crucifixes and church 
pictures I spoke of? 

Fa. No, no, child : but was you in his closet ? 



222 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Eld. Sist. Yes, sir. 

Fa. And was you in an inner room that you went 
to through his closet, and through another room 
beyond it ? 

Eld. Sist. Yes, sir ; we were both there, but we 
saw nothing more than ordinary; only still more 
church pieces, as that of the Passion, the Salutation, 
the Ascension, and the like. 

Fa. It is because you have not been used to such 
things, child : why it is his oratory ; it is a little 
consecrated chapel, and there stands an altar, and 
an altar-piece over it, with a crucifix, and the" Ascen- 
sion painted above that ; on either side there are 
fine rich paintings, one of the Baptism, and another 
of the assembly at the feast of Pentecost, and the 
Holy Ghost descending in flaming tongues, and the 
like : but that is not all, for upon the altar is a pix 
of pure gold, covered with a piece of crimson 
velvet, which is the repository, as they call it, of 
the host. 

Eld. Sist. I wonder, sir, he would let you see 
these things, if he designed to conceal his profession. 

Fa. It was all by accident ; for when I was in his 
closet, he was called hastily down, and his wife let 
me into these two rooms. But, alas ! she knows 
nothing of the meaning of them, she only takes 
them to be fine Italian rarities. 

Eld. Sist. Indeed I do not wonder at that, for I 
understood them no more than she does : and yet, 
my sister knows, I presently entertained the same 
opinion of his religion as you do now, but it was 
from a picture of the Crucifixion that hung by his 
bed-side, with a curtain over it. 

Fa. Well, child, yours are suspicions, mine is a 
certainty : when I charged him with it, he could 
not deny it, but seemed surprised when he found I 
had been in his chapel. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



223 



Mar. Sist. Nay, it is then out of doubt, it seems, 
if he owns it ; but what will become of my sister ? 
now she will have reason to see how just my mother's 
injunctions were to us all; I fear she will reproach 
herself with the neglect of them. 

Fa. My dear, she must reproach me with it ; 'tis 
I have ruined her ; I have given her up. 

Mar. Sist. No, sir, I think it lay upon her to 
have inquired into his principles in religion before 
she had given herself out of her own power. 

Fa. My dear, she came to me, and questioned 
with me upon this very point : she asked me if he 
was a protestant, and I encouraged her, told her he 
was a protestant, and a very sober, good man. 

Mar. Sist. I suppose, sir, you did not say posi- 
tively that you were sure he was a protestant, but 
that you believed so. 

Fa. I assured her so much of its being my 
opinion, that I told her she need not fear it ; and 
she again left it all to me, and depended upon me, 
and it is I that have betrayed and deluded her : in 
short, I have sold my child, and the peace of her 
life, for the toys and fine things of Italy : I have 
undone her ; it is all owing to my being unconcerned 
for the better part. 

Fid. Sist. Dear father, do not take the weight of 
it so much upon yourself : my sister knows it was 
her duty to have made a further search into it, and I 
pressed her to it in time, and with all possible im- 
portunity. 

Fa. Child, you did right ; and I believe she de- 
signed to follow your directions : But what assist- 
ance did I give her ! how did I damp that resolu- 
tion, when 1 stopped her mouth by telling her that 
1 dared to say he was a protestant ! She trusted to 
my assurance ; nay, she told me that she did so. 

(Here the father repeats to her the discourse be- 



224 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



tween him and his daughter, mentioned at the be- 
ginning of this dialogue, continuing to reproach him- 
self with betraying his child.) 

Eld. Sist. But, sir, notwithstanding all this dis- 
course, (for she told me every word, from time to 
time,) I urged her a great many times, and told 
her my thoughts ; for I suspected him from the be- 
ginning ; and I laboured to convince her that she 
ought to see with her own eyes, and to talk plainly 
and openly to him of it. 

Fa. Did she not tell you that her father had as- 
sured her he was a protestant, and that she trusted 
to that ? 

Eld. Sist. She was more just to you, sir, than to 
say that you assured her of it ; but she repeated 
your very words, that you said you believed it, and 
dare say he was ; and I told her plainly, that it was 
evident from your words that you only spoke your 
opinion, and that she ought not therefore to call 
that a positive assurance to be depended upon : 
indeed, sir, I was very plain with her ; she has no- 
body to blame but herself, I told her. 

{Here she repeats all her former discourse with 
her sister.) 

Fa. She has herself, indeed, been to blame for 
want of reflection upon your seasonable persuasions, 
my dear, and you acted a faithful part to her : but 
had I been as faithful to her, who was obliged in 
duty to have done it, and on whom she depended, 
as you were, who had no obligation but from your 
affections, I had delivered my child from ruin. 

Eld. Sist. I cannot say, sir, you had delivered 
her ; she seemed resolved to have him : her eyes 
were dazzled with the gay things she expected, and 
unless you had positively refused your consent, I 
fear religion had not hold enough on her thoughts 
to have balanced her love of vanity. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



225 



Fa, But I have been perfectly careless of it, and 
have not done the duty of my place ; I ought to 
have inquired into the circumstances of the person 
myself, and have restrained her. 

Eld, Sist, I am sorry for her, but I think you 
reflect on yourself too severely, sir ; to be sure you 
did not know that he was a papist, neither had you 
any suspicion of it ; but she had ; for 1 put the sus- 
picion into her head, and earnestly pressed her to 
satisfy herself about it from himself. 

Fa, My dear, I have been always too careless in 
these things : I remember the case of your sister 
here, and cannot but reflect how, when in a passion 
I told her it was none of my business, my own heart 
struck me with reproach; for I knew it was my duty; 
I wish this poor child had been as strict and as nice 
in that matter as her sister was ; though I took it ill 
then, I see now she was in the right of it. 

Eld, Sist, You afflict yourself, sir, for a case that 
issued well ; and where, if you were in the wrong, 
there was no bad consequences : whereas in this 
case, where the bad consequences have happened, 
you were no way the cause, 'tis all her own doing. 

Fa. But as it is an affliction to me, and that you 
may be sure it is, Providence seems to show me my 
sin, by my punishment ; I acknowledge I was in the 
wrong before, and it is not owing to my prudence or 
concern that your sister was not ruined : besides, 
every father that has a due concern for the souls of 
his children, will certainly inquire narrowly into the 
principles as well as morals of the persons they 
match them to. 

In a word, their father afflicted himself so much 
and so long upon this matter, that his two daughters 
were obliged to drop their concern for their sister, 
and apply all the skill they had to comfort their 

R. C. Q 



226 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



father : he was so overwhelmed with it, that it threw 
him into a deep melancholy, and that into a fit of 
sickness, which, though he recovered, yet he did 
not in a long time thoroughly enjoy himself ; always 
charging and reproaching himself with having ruined 
his child, having regarded nothing but the outside 
of things, and referring all their happiness to a 
plentiful fortune, and gay and extravagant way of 
living. 

This went on some time : the eldest daughter, 
who was left with the father, managed things so 
prudently, that no notice was taken of these things 
in the family, and her father readily agreed with 
both his daughters, that it was by no means 
proper to let their sister know what they had dis- 
covered ; concluding, that whenever she discovered 
it herself, she would come home with a sad heart, 
and make her complaint to them fast enough. 

But they were all mistaken in their sister ; for 
though she discovered the thing, and lived a 
melancholy life with her husband upon that occasion, 
yet in eight years that she lived with him, she never 
complained, or made her sorrows known to any of 
her relations ; but carried it with an even, steady 
temper, and bore all her griefs in her own breast : 
as shall be seen at large in the next dialogue. 

The end of the second dialogue. 



DIALOGUE III. 

The new married couple, of whom we had been 
speaking, lived in all the splendour and greatness that 
the highest degree of private persons admits of, and 
which a family possessed of an immense wealth, 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



227 



could be supposed to do : he was not only very rich 
when he married, as might be supposed by the noble 
furniture of his house, and his very valuable collec- 
tion of pictures and rarities, and the like, of which 
mention has been made, but as he fell privately into 
a great affair of remitting money by way of England 
to Genoa, for supply of the French armies in Italy, 
he got that way a prodigious sum of money; and 
yet acting only by correspondents at Amsterdam, he 
was liable to no resentment or objections from the 
government here. 

After he had lived thus about eight years, and in 
that time had six children by this young lady, he 
died ; she had four of her children living : but their 
father, after having in vain tried all the persuasions, 
arguments, and entreaties, (for he was too good a 
husband, and too much a gentleman to use any other 
method,) to bring his wife over to the Roman church, 
left her, however, under this terrible affliction, that 
having disposed of his vast estate in a very honour- 
able manner, as well to her as to her children, yet 
he took the education of her children from her, 
leaving them to the tuition of guardians, to bring 
them up in the Roman religion. Nor was this the 
effect of his unkindness to her ; for except in dis- 
putes about these things, they never had any dif- 
ference worth the name of a dispute in their lives ; 
and at his death he left at her own disposal above 
six times the fortune she brought him ; but this of 
his children was a mere point of conscience to him, 
which he could not dispense with. This was an in- 
expressible grief to her, and that such and so heavy, 
as it is impossible to represent in this narrow tract, 
so as to say how far it afflicted her, or what ill con- 
sequences attended it ; the drift and design of this 
work also lying quite another way, viz., to show the 
manner of life which naturally attends the best 

Q2 



228 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



matches, where the religious principles of the hus- 
band and wife are not the same. 

The eldest sister was now married also, and 
married very happily and comfortably ; the princi- 
ples as well as practices of her husband not only 
concurred entirely with her own, but answered in a 
most agreeable manner to the character which was 
given to her father of him, viz., that he was a person 
truly religious. 

The father, now grown old, had been a true pe- 
nitent for his mistakes in the past conduct of his 
children, and had fully made up his want of care in 
his middle daughter's match, by his difficulty in 
being pleased for his eldest ; she needed no concern 
for, or to show any nicety in, examining into the 
person, for her father was so very nice for her, that 
scarce anything could please him ; he rejected 
several good offers, merely on account of religious 
principles, and put them off without so much as 
naming them to his daughter, till at last fixing upon 
a merchant in the city, who, both for sobriety, piety, 
opinion in religion, and estate, suited every way 
both his own desires and his daughter's judgment, 
the match, under such circumstances, was soon made. 
The uninterrupted felicity this young lady enjoyed, 
in having the best husband, the best Christian, and 
the best tempered man in the world, all in one, 
made her the happiest woman alive; and indeed 
recommended the caution she always used in her 
choice, by its success. 

Her father lived with this daughter, when he was 
in town, but otherwise in Oxfordshire, with his own 

sister, the lady , widow of sir James , 

of whom mention is made in the first part of this 
work : he lived very easy, having thus seen his 
family all settled ; for his two sons were very well 
fixed abroad, the one at Leghorn, and the other at 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



229 



Cadiz ; and he might really be said to have no af- 
fliction in the world but that of his middle daughter, 
who, though by far the richest and most prosperous 
in circumstances, and lived in the most splendour of 
all the rest, yet he esteemed really miserable ; and 
so indeed in one sense she was. 

He was at dinner one day at his eldest daugh- 
ter's house, his youngest daughter being casually 
there also, when, while they were at table, letters 
came from the Bath, where his middle daughter 
was gone with her husband, to acquaint them that 
her husband, after an indisposition of no more than 
five days, was dead. It surprised them all, for he 
had not so much as heard that he was ill ; and his 
distemper being a pleurisy, it was exceedingly vio- 
lent, and carried him off very quickly. When 
their father read the letter, he was extremely sur- 
prised, and rising up from the table hastily, Poor 
child ! says he, God has delivered her, but it is by 
a sad stroke. His daughters got up from table 
terribly frighted, when they saw the disorder their 
father was in, not knowing what the matter was; 
but he perceiving it, turned about suddenly, and 

said, Your sister is a widow ; and threw 

down the letter. At this they sat down again 
all surprised, and indeed sensibly afflicted; for, 
excepting his religion, which was not all that while 
made public, he was a most obliging relation to 
them all. 

I purposely pass over here the incidents that 
may be supposed to happen in the family on so sad 
an occasion, (such as the lady's coming up from the 
Bath, the concern of the father and sisters to com- 
fort her, the disposal of herself, and the manage- 
ment of her affairs,) hastening to the main story, 
viz., the account she gave of her life past, and of 
what she had gone through in the eight years of her 



230 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



married state, upon the particular occasion of her 
husband's being of a different religion. 

It was some months after her husband's death, 
and when all her affairs were in a settled posture, 
that she went to divert her thoughts a little, and 
unbend her mind from the sorrows she had been 
under, (for she was a sincere mourner for her hus- 
band ;) I say, it was some months after his death, 
that her younger sister having invited her down to 
her seat in Hampshire, she went thither, and her 
father and eldest sister, at her request, went all 
with her. 

Here, upon casual discoursing of things past, 
her father, who was almost ever bemoaning his 
neglect in exposing his children, threw out some 
words which first gave her to understand that both 
he and her sisters knew her husband was not a pro- 
testant, at which she seemed very much surprised ; 
but as she found it was known, and that, however, 
it was still so far a secret, as that it had gone no 
further than their own breasts, she was soon made 
easy ; she then made a confidence of it, earnestly 
entreating them that it might go no further, which 
they willingly promised for her satisfaction. 

But this opened the door for variety of con- 
ferences among them, as particularly her sisters 
told her how they discovered it first, and after- 
wards their father ; and repeated all the discourses 
they had had about it, and how and for what reason 
they had resolved never to mention it to her, un- 
less she spoke first of it ; concluding, that per- 
haps he might conceal it from her, and they would 
be very loath to discover a thing to her which they 
knew had no other consequence at that time, but 
to ruin and afflict her. Alas, sister! says she, 
I discovered it within a fortnight after I came 
home. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



231 



Ay ! says her youngest sister, you had a good 
government of yourself to refrain unbosoming 
to some of us ; especially considering my sister 
here (meaning her eldest sister) had been so 
serious with you upon that very head before you 
were married. 

Dear sister, says the widow, to what purpose 
is it for any woman, when she is married, to com- 
plain of her disappointments, which she knows she 
cannot mend ? 

Yo. Sist. That's true, my dear, but who is there 
that can deny themselves that ease to their grief? 

Wid. Alas ! complaining is but a poor ease to 
such sorrows ; 'tis like sighing, which relieves the 
heart one moment, and doubly loads it the next. 

Yo. Sist. Well, sister, seeing you had so entire a 
mastery over yourself in that part, and you brought 
the dominion of your reason over your passions, to 
so perfect an exercise, which is what I confess I 
must admire you for ; I say, seeing you mastered 
yourself so well that way, I am obliged to think 
you mastered yourself as well within doors ; and 
with good conduct, perhaps, you made it no incon- 
venience to you. I wish you would let us hear 
how you managed, that we may see, perhaps, dif- 
ference of opinion may be so managed as to make 
no breaches in a family, and it might be as well as 
if it had been otherwise. 

Wid. No, no, sister, don't fancy so. Our dear 
mother was wiser than so, and you were all wiser 
than I, to lay so much stress upon it as you did ; 
I am a convert now to my mother's instructions, 
though it be too late to help it. 

Yo, Sist. Why Mr. — and you lived mighty 

easy. You were always mighty well with one an- 
other I thought. 

Wid. It was impossible to be ill with him, he 



232 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



was of so excellent a temper; but this makes my 
case perfectly instructing to others, and proves 
effectually, that no goodness of the disposition, no 
excess of affection, no prudent compliances, though 
they make the case rather better than worse, can 
yet make up, no, not in the least, or any way ba- 
lance, the inexpressible deficiency that such a breach 
in religious matters makes in a family. 

Fa. Ay, ay, my dear, I see it now, with a sad 
heart, but it was far from any of my thoughts then ; 
you owe all the misery of it to my neglect. 

Wid. Sir, I dare say you did not mistrust it ; I 
remember you said he had always been a protest- 
ant when you was at Leghorn, and that you knew 
he was bred so. 

Fa. Ay, my dear; but it was my business to 
have inquired further into it : I might easily have 
known it if I had inquired ; for several merchants 
told me afterwards of it ; but I laid no stress 
upon it ; in short, I did not consider the conse- 
quences. 

Yo. Sist. There is no need to afflict yourself now, 
sir, about it; my sister is delivered another way, 
sir, and the thing is over. 

Fa. But I am a warning to all parents, that have 
the good of their children at heart, never to make 
light of such things, but search them to the bottom; 
and the more their children depend upon them, the 
greater is their obligation to be very careful. 

Yo. Sist. Well, my sister is delivered from it all 
now. 

Wid. It is a sad deliverance, sister; and it is 
a dreadful case to be so married, as that the death 
of a husband should be counted a deliverance ; and 
especially of a good husband too. 

Yo. Sist. I do believe he was a good husband in- 
deed, that one particular excepted ; but that was a 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



233 



terrible circumstance, and would have made the best 
husband in the world a bad husband to me. 

Wid. Ay, child, and so it did to me in some 
cases, though he was otherwise the best-humoured 
man, and the best husband imaginable. 

Yo. Sist. No question there was some uneasiness 
at first, but it seems you got over it ; I wish you 
would tell us, sister, how you managed the first 
discovery between you. 

Wid. Truly, sister, the uneasiness was not so 
much at first as at last, and had we lived longer to- 
gether, it must of necessity have grown worse, espe- 
cially as the children grew up. 

Yo. Sist. Indeed there you might have come to 
clash in matters very essential to your peace. 

Wid. Might have clashed ! do you say ? indeed, 
sister, we must have clashed; it was unavoidable; it 
could not be, that I could be easy to have the 
children bred papists, or that he could have been 
easy to have them bred, as he called it, heretics. 

Yo. Sist. It was impossible indeed ; and the more 
you were both settled and serious in your opinions, 
the more impossible it would be for you to yield that 
point to one another. 

Wid. Why you know, sister, Mr. was a 

very serious, grave man, and I assure you, in his 
way, he was very devout ; and this made his yielding 
to me sometimes to be very difficult to him ; he had 
very strong struggles between his principles and his 
affection. 

Eld. Sist. Dear sister, it is always so where there 
are differing opinions between a man and his wife ; 
the more zealous and conscientious they are in their 
several ways, the more difficult it is for them to 
yield those points up to one another, which kind- 
ness and affection may incline them to give up. But 



234 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



pray give us a little account of your first disputes 
about these things. 

Wid. 'Tis a sad story, sister, and will bring many 
grievous things to remembrance. 

Eld. Sist. I should be very unwilling to impose so 
irksome a task upon you ; but I think it will be very 
instructing to us all. 

Wid. Why it was not much above a fortnight 
after we came home, as I observed to you, before I 
discovered it, and the manner was thus : I won- 
dered that every Sabbath-day my spouse contrived 
some excuse or other to avoid going to church with 
me : I had taken some notice of it before we went 
home, but the second Sabbath-day I took upon me 
to desire him to go ; he seemed not to deny me, 
and went into the coach with me, but pretended a 
sudden thought, he was obliged to go up to St. 
James's; and having very civilly handed me out of 
the coach, and gone with me into the very place, 
made a light bow, when I could not stand to per- 
suade, and went back. 

Sist. What did he take the coach too, and leave 
you to come home on foot ? 

Wid. No, no ; he never showed me so little re- 
spect as that ; he went but as far as Temple Bar 
in the coach, and sent it back, charging the coach- 
man to go and wait for his mistress, which he did : 
this, however, troubled me a little, and I began to 
be uneasy, though I knew not for what. 

Sist. Why, my dear, did nothing occur to your 
thoughts, as it did to ours, about his pictures, his 
crucifixes, altar-pieces, and such things ? 

Wid. No, not at all : I had heard my father say 
it was the fashion in Italy ; and it being so remote 
from my thoughts to imagine anything of what was 
the real case, I had, indeed, no thoughts at all 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



235 



about it, till the following affair alarmed me. I 
was with him one day in our closet, and viewing 
his fine things, the pictures, imagery, and other 
rarities, of which he had abundance, and some 
pieces of antiquity, that are of very great value : 
he was mighty busy, and pleased in showing me 
things, and telling me what they were ; for then 
they were as new to me almost, as they were to you : 
at last I went into the little room within his closet, 
and looked upon all the fine things there, where you 
know, sister, there are abundance of valuable pieces 
of paintings. 

Sist Yes, indeed, 'tis a charming place. 

Wid. Upon the table there stood two fine silver 
candlesticks, gilded, with large wax candles in 
them ; My dear, says I, like an innocent fool, these 
candlesticks are very fine, I think they are much 
finer than any we have about the house. My dear, 
says he, if you had rather have them in your 
closet, than to let them stand here, they shall be 
removed. No my dear, said I, if we should want 
them upon an extraordinary occasion, 'tis but bor- 
rowing them of you. We said no more of that 
then, but the next day he sent me in from a gold- 
smith's in Drury-lane, two pair of candlesticks, 
larger and finer than these, of very curious work- 
manship, and all the high embossed work double 
gilt. 

Yo. Sist. So you had no need to grudge him 
those he used in his closet any more. 

Wid. No, indeed. But to go on : after I had 
done speaking of the candlesticks, I laid my hands 
upon a large piece of crimson damask, which 
seemed to cover something that stood upon the 
table, and standing up about seven or eight inches 
high in the middle, looked as if there were several 
things together ; and going to turn it up, I said, 



236 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



What is under here, my dear? but added, with 
a smile, and thinking nothing of the matter, May I 
look ? He smiled a little, but laying his hand upon 
it too, said, I had rather not, my dear ; they are 
things I brought from Italy, but nothing of orna- 
ment. Well, well, says I, let it lie ; I don't desire 
to look ; not I, and immediately turned to look at a 
picture that hung near me, and all this while I was 
so dull as to perceive nothing. 

Eld. Sist. Your curiosity was not much, it 
seems. 

Wid. Innocence suspects nobody ; but a strange 
turn in his countenance gave me an alarm which I 
was not aware of ; for there was a visible hurry 
and confusion in his face, when he laid his hands 
upon the piece of damask to prevent my taking it 
up ; and on a sudden, when I so easily and uncon- 
cernedly passed it off, all that chagrin went off his 
countenance in a moment, and he was as bright and 
as good-humoured again as ever ; and this made me 
think afterwards that there was something in it more 
than usual. 

Eld. Sist. You must have been very dull if you 
had not, seeing you perceived such a double altera- 
tion ; and this would have heightened my desire to 
inquire further into it. 

Wid. Perhaps it did so too in me ; but I saw 
evidently he was concerned ; and why should I 
make him uneasy ? I could have passed a hundred 
such things by, and have restrained my curiosity 
while I had no suspicion. 

Eld. Sist. Well, but what was this to the case ? 
It seems here was no discovery then. 

Wid. Yes, here was a discovery too, as it pre- 
pared for further observation : I told you that the 
next day he sent me home two pair of candlesticks, 
which were indeed very fine ; and as I was admir- 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



237 



ing them, I desired to have the other fetched down, 
to compare them with ; upon which he made some 
difficulty, and said he could not trust a servant to 
go into his closet alone, when things of consequence 
lay about ; But, my dear, says he, we will go up and 
match them. 

Eld. Sist. Well, that reason was just enough. 

Wid. It was so ; and I went up with him into 
his closet, but not into the inner room ; but I ob- 
served just when he stepped in, he made an extra- 
ordinary low bow towards that place where the 
candlesticks stood. Indeed I took no notice of it 
at first, for I verily thought he had stooped for 
something, but when he carried the candlesticks in 
again, he did the same, and that gave me some 
thought. 

Yo. Sist. That was a discovery indeed. 

Wid. No, really it was not yet ; for I was a per- 
fect stranger to any of their popish ceremonies, I 
scarce understood it when I was told : but how- 
ever, it gave me some idea of this being an extraor- 
dinary place, though I did not know what ; and I 
very innocently asked this foolish, laughing ques- 
tion ; My dear, you are mighty mannerly to your 
empty rooms, you bow as if the king was there. 
He put it off with a smile, and an answer that was 
indeed according to Solomon, Answer a fool in his 
folly : My dear, says he, 'tis our custom in Italy. 

Eld. Sist. He was no fool ; what he said was very 
true. 

Wid. Well , even all this while, and further, I 
was still blind ; for a little after I pushed into the 
same place with him, not out of curiosity, but 
merely by chance ; but though the piece of crim- 
son damask lay upon the table, yet there was 
nothing under it, nor did he make any bow as 
before. 



238 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Yo. Sist. No, my dear, there was no need of it 
then ; for to be sure the idol was removed. 

Wid. Well, however, as that was more than I 
knew, it caused all my former hesitations and ob- 
servations to vanish, till they were renewed again 
upon the following occasion : he was taken ill one 
evening, in a manner that alarmed me very much, 
and we were obliged to get him to bed with all 
speed ; but just as he was undressing by the bed- 
side, he started up in a kind of rapture, and pulling 
a string which drew back a curtain, he cast up his 
eyes towards a picture that hung there, and said 
some words which I did not understand, and I per- 
ceived he crossed himself two or three times on the 
breast, and then stepped into bed. 

Fa. To one that had lived in Italy this had been 
no novelty at all. 

Wid. No, sir, I understand it well enough now, 
but I did not then ; however, it was so plain then, 
that it needed no explanation to me ; but it was 
such a surprise to me, that I thought I should have 
fainted : my heart sunk within me, and with a sigh, 
said I to myself, O Lord ! I am undone ! I thought 
I had spoken so softly, that nothing could have 
overheard me ; but yet so unhappy was my passion, 
that he heard the last words, and raising his voice, 
My dear, says he, hastily, what's the matter ? What 
art thou undone for ? I made him no answer, which 
increased his eagerness to know what ailed me ; 
but I declined it. At last, pressing me still, I an- 
swered, My dear, excuse me for the present, I am a 
little frighted ; with which he rings a little bell, 
that I used to ring for my woman, and she being 
but in the next room, came .running in : I bid her 
fetch me a little bottle out of my closet, and taking 
a few drops rather by a counterfeit illness than a- 
real, put an end to his inquiry, and got him to sleep- 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



239 



Eld, Sist. I should e'en have charged him with it 
downright, and have raved at him for a rogue, that 
had cheated and deluded me. 

Wid. Indeed, sister, I did not do so ; I was 
oppressed with the terror of it, and the disappoint- 
ment, but my affection stept in the way of all re- 
sentment ; I loved him tenderly ; and besides, it 
was not a time for it ; for he was really very ill, and 
thought he should have died ; it was a spice or 
taste of the same distemper that did at last kill him, 
for it was a pleurisy : and after he had slept a little, 
he waked again in such a condition that frighted 
all the house, and we were forced to fetch a surgeon 
out of his bed to let him blood. 

Sist. Well, that relieved him, I hope. 
Wid. Yes, it did ; but I name it to tell you a 
circumstance which attended it : we had in the 
house an old man, an Italian, whom he always kept 
in the counting-house to copy his letters, and trans- 
late his Italian accounts, and for such other busi- 
ness as he employed him in ; and they called him 
doctor : the surgeon we had sent for, being in bed, 
did not come time enough, and he grew black, and 
desperately ill, which frighted me exceedingly ; and 
when he saw I was under a surprise, he made signs 
(for he could not speak to be understood, he was so 
bad) to call up the old Italian. When he came 
into the room, he held out his arm, and pointing at 
it with his finger, every one might understand that 
he meant he should let him blood : upon which, 
immediately the old man called for things proper, 
and I found he had a lancet in his pocket ; I asked 
him if he had been used to it : he said, Yes, madam, 
I have let him blood several times before now. In 
a word, he opened a vein, and it gave him ease, 
and he recovered soon after. 



240 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Fa. I'll lay a hundred pound, then, that doctor is 
a priest. 

Wid. Yes, sir, he is so; and I knew it quickly after. 

Fa. And after he knew that you understood it, 
did he not besiege you with his discourses and im- 
portunities, my dear, to turn ? 

Wid. No really ; at least not so as I believe is 
usual ; he frequently let fall some words about it, 
but with great modesty ; for he was really a very 
good sort of a man, exceeding retired and devout ; 
very mannerly and respectful : he spoke once at 
table, (for sometimes my spouse would ask me to 
let him sup with us,) and we had been talking very 
cheerfully, when the doctor said something in 
Italian to his master, that gave me plain reasons to 
know that he desired I should know what he said ; 
upon which my spouse said to me, My dear, what 
do you think the doctor says ? I don't know, but I 
am sure it is about me. Yes, says he, so it is ; and 
he says I must tell you what it is, or else you will 
think he is unmannerly, to speak anything in a lan- 
guage you do not understand. Well, pray, said I, 
what is it he says ? What pity is it, said my 
spouse, such a fine genius as my lady your wife is, 
should not be within the pale of the catholic church! 
While my spouse was telling me this, he looked 
very earnestly at him to observe when he repeated 
the words, and just as he repeated them, the good 
old father lift up his eyes, and said some words 
softly, but with great appearance of seriousness, 
which, it seems, was to pray to Christ to convert me ; 
and my spouse looking very seriously too, crossed 
himself, and said Amen. 

Yo. Sist. This was dangerous work indeed, sister ; 
for the more serious they were in it, the more it 
would have affected me. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



241 



Wid. Indeed so it did me ; I answered my 
husband, My dear, I hope I am ; and if I thought I 
was not, I would not sleep till I was. At which 
the doctor, my spouse repeating the words to him, 
shook his head, and said, No, no ! signifying that 
to be sure I was not ; and added, he hoped God 
would hear his prayers for me ; but this was the 
most that ever he offered that way. 

Fa. Well, that was nothing but what any man, 
who thought himself in the right, might do, and 
very modestly too. 

Wid. Indeed, he always kept himself rather at a 
greater distance than we desired. 

Yo. Sist. Well, but pray go back to the story. 

Wid. Why, I told you my husband recovered 
from his illness ; but it was otherwise with me ; for 
being now fully satisfied that my spouse was a 
papist, it cast me down to that degree, and over- 
whelmed my spirits, that I was scarce able to bear 
it, and especially for want of somebody to lodge my 
thoughts with, and open my soul to. 

Eld. Sist. Why, did you not charge him with it 
point-blank ? Did he not perceive your disorder ? 

Wid. He did to be sure, and pressed me, with 
the utmost tenderness and importunity, to let him 
know what grieved me. 

Eld. Sist. Ay, and I should have told him of it in 
his ears. 

Wid. Dear sister, you are too tender a wife your- 
self not to know that where there is a sincere affec- 
tion, even the highest resentment expresses itself 
in the softest terms. I could afflict myself freely, 
but I could not think of afflicting him ; and though 
I do acknowledge I thought myself ill-treated, yet I 
could not use him ill in return. 

Sist. Come, tell us what you said to him. 

Wid. Why, when he pressed me to let him know 
r. c. R 



242 



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what disturbed me. I told him I had rather bear my 
grief than complain to him ; that I was too sensible 
he knew what I meant, when I said I was undone ; 
and I begged him not to oblige me to blame him, 
for not having been just to me. Why, my dear, 
says he, why are you undone ? if your opinion in 
religion and mine may differ, must it affect our 
love ? cannot we be dear to one another without 
entering into disputes of that kind? Yes, said I, 
my dear, I know better than to enter into disputes 
with you ; but I must reckon myself undone for all 
that. Tears stopped my very breath for awhile, for 
this was an open acknowledgment of his profession ; 
and I would fain have flattered myself so much, as 
to hope there was yet some room to have thought 
myself mistaken. When he saw me so overwhelmed, 
he came to me, and took me in his arms, and said 
all the kind things it is possible to think of, to pa- 
cify me : My dear, says he, though you may think 
this a grief to you, expect to have it made up 
abundantly, by all that it is possible for man to do 
to oblige you : and indeed if all the affectionate 
things a man could say or do, could make it up, it 
was made up to me : if it was possible for man to 
do anything to make a woman forget her disap- 
pointment, he did it ; and this from a man too, 
who had a perfect understanding of everything that 
could oblige and engage the affections : in a word, 
no man could do more, or woman desire more, to 
make up the loss. 

Eld. Sist. Well, sister, and pray tell me, did it 
do ? Was it fully made up to you ? Is it possible 
that two can be happy in the condition of man and 
wife, where opinions in religion differ ? You have 
had the experience of it to be sure in its best for- 
tune, with all the advantages imaginable. Now be 
plain, and tell us is it possible the conjugal felicity 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



243 



can be complete? Was our dear mother in the 
right or no, sister ? 

Wid. Indeed, sister, you put hard upon me, be- 
cause I know I too much slighted my mother's in- 
junctions ; and I remember I jested with you about 
it, but I paid for the experiment. 

Eld. Sist. Dear sister, those things are forgotten 
long ago ; I did not intend to reflect upon them ; 
but I ask upon a serious account, I assure you. 

Wid. Why, truly, sister, I must acknowledge it 
impossible. No kindness, no tenderness, no affec- 
tion, can make it up; the condition can never be 
happy, God faithfully served, children rightly edu- 
cated, the mind perfectly easy, or the duty of the 
relation faithfully performed, where the opinions in 
religion differ. 

Eld. Sist. I am of opinion also, that it would have 
been the same, though your difference had not been 
so great as that of papist and protestant. 

Wid. Ay, ay, all one ! for we never entered into 
the question about our principles ; I resolved it 
from the beginning, to avoid bringing on anything 
that might be unkind or disobliging between us, 
and he approved it, and did the same for the same 
reason ; so that I never, after the first discourse, 
so much as inquired what his opinion was. It was 
sufficient to have the grief that we could not wor- 
ship God together, either abroad or at home ; we 
could not think of one another with charity, but as 
deceived persons, out of the way of eternal felicity, 
out of God's blessing and protection ; we could not 
look upon one another but with sighs and sad hearts. 
Again, we could never converse with one another 
upon religious subjects, for we would not enter upon 
the least serious thing but it led us into contradic- 
tions and wild distracted notions, which we were 
immediately forced to take the help of our affec- 

r 2 



244 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



tions to suppress, that we might not break out into 
indecencies to one another. 

Yo. Sist. Well, sister, and what became of your 

smart answers to my sister , when she and you 

talked of these things, viz., that if he was not of 
your opinion, you would be of his ; that if he was a 
Christian catholic you was a catholic Christian ; 
and so you would have no difference about that ? 

Wid. Why truly, sister, I was young, and did 
not consider what I said ; and, besides, I did not in 
the least suspect what my sister suggested ; and yet 
so far I have kept up to it, we have by the help of 
abundance of good-humour on both sides, and a 
great deal of love on both sides, avoided differences 
and disputes upon that subject. But alas ! sister, 
that's but a negative, and it can only be said we did 
not quarrel, which is a great deal to say too ; but 
what's this to a happy life ? How was our family 
guided, our children educated, and how would they 
have been educated if he had lived ! And how was 
God worshipped ! He and his priest at their mass in 
the oratory or chapel ; I and my little unhappy babies 
in my chamber and closet, where I mourned over 
them continually, rather than prayed over them, to 
think that some time or other they should be 
snatched from me and brought up in popery ; nor 
would it have been much otherwise, if he had been 
of any other irreconcileable opinion ; for, as I told 
you before, though I knew his opinion, I never 
asked it ; for any opinion, where there is not a 
harmony in worshipping, a joining in public prayer 
to God, and in joint serving him in our families, is 
the same thing, only not in the same extreme. 

Yo. Sist. Well, but had you no private breaches 
about it ? 

Wid. No, never ; we carefully avoided it. But 
this is but an evidence of the dreadful consequences 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



245 



of such marriages in general ; For where is there a 
couple that can say, as we could, that they have had 
no jars about it ? And what breaches have religi- 
ous differences made in families ? But if the happi- 
ness is so little, and the evil consequences so many, 
even with a husband so exquisitely kind and oblig- 
ing, and where a woman cannot say she has any 
one other thing to complain of, what must be the 
case in other families ? 

Yo. Sist. But, sister, you hint that the longer 
you lived, the worse those differences grew. 

Wid. Why it was impossible, sister, but as we 
grew forward, these things must have come more in 

our way. We have four children, and Mr. 

was not a man so indifferent in his religion, as to be 
more careless about the souls of his children, that I 
assure you ; and though he left them entirely to my 
management when they were little, yet he would 
hint sometimes, that he hoped I would leave them 
free when they grew up, to choose for themselves 
as God should enlighten them ; and that at least we 
should both stand neuter. 

Yo. Sist. What could you say to that ? 

Wid. J told him I could not tell how far I could 
promise that ; for if I thought myself in the right 
way to heaven, T could but ill answer it to Him that 
gave me my children, to stand still and see them go 
wrong, and not endeavour to persuade them, at 
least, to choose better for themselves. He told me 
that was an argument just as strong on his side as 
it was on mine. And, he added, smiling, how 
shall we do then to agree, my dear, when it comes 
to that ? I hope we shall not love less than we do 
now. I told him I had a great many melancholy 
thoughts about it ; and thus at last we were always 
fain to drop the discourse ; but to this hour I can- 
not conceive how we should have done to have 



246 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



divided our children's instruction between us, if he 
had lived to see them grow up. 

Fa. Well, my dear, God has otherwise ordered it; 
and I hope the children will have the benefit of a 
good instruction now, without that interruption. 

Wid. Alas ! sir, I perceive you do not know their 
case yet ; and this is a remaining grief to me that 
I have not mentioned. 

Fa. What's that, child? 

Wid. Why, sir, by his will he has appointed the 
old priest, whom I named above, to be tutor to my 
two sons, and has settled his estate so, that unless 
the trustees bring them up Roman catholics, a 
great deal of the estate goes from them ; so that 
J am to be robbed of my children. 

Fa. I am surprised at that. Why I never heard 
a word of it ! And what has he done then with his 
two daughters ? 

Wid. He has left them to me. 

Fa. Did you know this before, child? Had you 
any discourse about it before he died ? 

Wid. Yes, sir, as much as the violence of his 
distemper would admit ; I entreated, I persuaded, 
I argued, as much as tears and my oppressed 
thoughts would allow me ; for I thought my heart 
would have burst while I talked to him, to see his 
condition, whom I loved as my own soul, and to 
think what was to befall my children ; you can 
hardly conceive what a time it was to me ; it 
wounds my very spirit to look back upon it. 

Eld. Sist. It was a very bitter thing, no donbt ; 
but what said he to you ? 

Wid. He begged of me not to importune him. 
He told me it was far from being unkindness to 
me, but his conscience obliged him to it, and he 
could not die in peace if he did not, as far as in him 
lay, provide for the souls of his children. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



247 



Fa. Why if it was his conscience, how came it to 
pass he did not do the like by his daughters ? 

Wid. Why he said, he thought I had a right to 
their government, as a half of the family ; For, my 
dear, says he, we are partners; but, says he, I 
entreat you, and, as far as I am able to do it, enjoin 
you to it, let the poor innocent babes be reconciled 
to the church, and brought up in the catholic faith; 
and I hope you will in God's due time embrace it 
yourself. 

Yo. Sist. What was you able to say to him ? 

Wid. I bless God I made no promise about my 
children ; nor, indeed, was I able to speak to him 
for grief, for he was in such agonies, that my heart 
could not hold to stay by him ; and the next morn- 
ing he died : and now I am a dreadful example of 
the miserable condition of a married state where 
principles of religion differ, though with the best 
husband in the world. 

Fa. But, my dear, do not afflict yourself now 
about your sons. 

Wid. Not afflict myself, sir ! is that possible ? 

Fa. Yes, yes ; they shall not be bred up papists, 
I'll assure you, for all that he has done to bring it 
to pass. 

Wid. Alas, sir ! they will be taken away from me. 

Fa. No, no ; nor shall they be taken away from 
you neither ; our laws give you a right to the bring- 
ing up your own children ; and as for the doctor, 
I'll engage he shall give you no disturbance ; he 
knows his own circumstances, and I'll take care that 
he shall take it for a favour to be concealed here, 
and leave all to you. 

Wid. But then the estate will go from my chil- 
dren too. 

Fa. Perhaps not, neither ; but if it should, you 
have enough for them. 



248 



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Wid, Well, that's none of my care ; let me but 
keep them from a wrong education, I'll willingly 
leave that part to fall as it will. 

Yo, Sist. But, dear sister, did Mr. never try 

you by arguments to bring you over to him ? 

Wid, Only by all that he could ever advise, ex- 
cept as I said before : for I must do that justice to 
his memory, that he never offered anything that 
was rough, or threatening, or limiting, or unkind ; 
but all on the contrary, to the highest extreme. 

Yo, Sist, That was the effect of his extraordi- 
nary good breeding, and his being so much a gen- 
tleman. 

Wid, Not that altogether, sister, though that 
might join ; but it was the effect of an excellent dis- 
position, and of an inexpressible affection to me in 
particular ; for otherwise he was the most zealous 
man, in his way, that ever was heard of, and thought 
everybody an enemy to him that would not be of his 
own opinion. 

Eld, Sist, Did he never go about to bribe you to 
it? 

Wid, O sister ! very frequently, and that with 
all the subtelty of invention in the world ; for he 
was always giving me presents upon that very ac- 
count. 

Fa, Presents to a wife ! what do they signify? 'tis 
but taking his money out of one pocket and putting 
it into the other ; they must all be appraised, child, 
in the personal estate. 

Wid, It has been quite otherwise with him, in- 
deed, sir ; for he has made it a clause in his will, 
that all the presents he gave me shall be my own, 
to bestow how I please ; besides all the rest that he 
has left me more than he was obliged to do. 

Eld, Sist, Then they seem to be considerable. 

Wid, He has, first and last, given me above 3000?. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



249 



in presents, and most of them on this very account: 
but one was very extraordinary, I mean to that pur- 
pose. 

Eld. Sist. I suppose that is your diamond cross. 

Wid. It is so ; he brought it home in a little 
case, and coming into my room one morning before 
I was dressed, hearing I was alone, he told me, 
smiling, and very pleasant, he was come to say his 
prayers to me : I confess I had been a little out of 
humour just at that time, having been full of sad 
thoughts all the morning about the grand point, and 
I was going to have given him a very unkind an- 
swer, but his looks had so much goodness and ten- 
derness always in them, that when I looked up at 
him I could retain no more resentment : indeed, 
sister, it was impossible to be angry with him. 

Eld. Sist. You might well be in humour, indeed, 
when he brought you a present worth above six 
hundred pounds. 

Wid. But I had not seen the present when what 
I am telling you passed between us. 

Eld. Sist. Well, I ask pardon for interrupting 
you ; pray go on where you left off, when he told 
you he was come to say his prayers to you. 

Wid. I told him I hoped he would not make an 
idol of his wife. 

Eld. Sist. Was that the ill-natured answer you 
were about to give him ? 

Wid. No, indeed ; I was going to tell him he 
need not worship me, he had idols enough in the 
house. 

Eld. Sist. That had been bitter and unkind, in- 
deed ; I hope you did not say so. 

Wid. Indeed I did not ; nor would I have said so 
for a thousand pounds ; it would have grieved me 
every time 1 had reflected on it afterwards as long 
as I had lived. 



250 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Eld. Sist. It was so very apt a return, I dare say 
I should not have brought my prudence to have 
mastered the pleasure of such a repartee. 

Wid. Dear sister, 'tis a sorry pleasure that is 
taken in grieving a kind husband ; besides, sister, as 
it was my great mercy that my husband strove con- 
stantly to make his difference in religion as little 
troublesome and offensive to me as possible, it would 
very ill have become me to make it my jest ; it had 
been a kind of bespeaking the uneasinesses which 
it was my happiness to avoid. 

Eld. Sist. Well, you had more temper than I 
should have had, I dare say ; but I must own you 
were in the right : come, pray how did you go on ? 

Wid. Why he answered he hoped he worshipped 
no idols but me ; and if he erred in that point, who- 
ever reproved him, he hoped I would not. 

Eld. Sist. Why that's true too : besides, 'tis not 
so often that men make idols of their wives. 

Wid. Well, while he was saying this he pulls out 
the jewel, and opening the case, takes a small crim- 
son string that it hung to, and put it about my neck, 
but kept the jewel in his hand so that I could not 
see it ; and then taking me in his arms, Sit down, 
my dear, says he ; which I did upon a little stool : 
then he kneeled down just before me, and kissing 
the jewel, let it go, saying something in Italian, 
which I did not understand, and then looking up in 
my face, Now, my dear, says he, you are my idol. 

Eld. Sist. Well, sister, 'tis well he is dead. 

Wid. Dear sister, how can you say such words to 
me ! 

Eld. Sist He would certainly have conquered 
you at last. 

Wid. If the tenderest and most engaging temper, 
the sincerest and warmest affection in nature, could 
have done it, he would have done it, that's certain. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



251 



Eld. Sist. And I make no doubt but they are the 
most dangerous weapons to attack a woman's prin- 
ciples ; I cannot but think them impossible to resist: 
passion, unkindness, and all sorts of conjugal vio- 
lence, of which there is a great variety in a married 
life, are all nothing to them : you remember, sister, 
some lines on another occasion, but very much to 
the case : 

Force may, indeed, the heart invade, 
But kindness only can persuade. 

Wid. I grant that 'tis difficult to resist the influ- 
ence of so much affection ; and everything that 
came from so sincere a principle, and to a mind 
prepossessed with all the sentiments of tenderness 
and kindness possible to be expressed, made a deep 
impression : but I thank God I stood my ground. 

Eld. Sist. Well, well, you would not have stood 
it long, I am persuaded ; and this is one of the great 
hazards a woman runs in marrying a man of a dif- 
fering religion, or a differing opinion from herself, 
viz., that her affection to her husband is her worst 
snare ; and so that which is her duty, and her 
greatest happiness, is made the most dangerous 
gulf she can fall into : well might our dear mother 
warn us from marrying men of different opinions. 

Wid. It is very true, I acknowledge it ; my love 
was my temptation, my affection to my husband 
went always nearest to stagger my resolution : I 
was in no danger upon any other account. 

Yo. Sist. Well, but pray go on about the jewel ; 
what said you to him ? 

Wid. Truly, sister, I'll be very plain with you ; 
when he kissed the jewel on his knees, and muttered, 
as I tell you, in Italian, I was rather provoked than 
obliged ; and I said, I think you are saying your 



252 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



prayers indeed, my dear; tell me what you are 
doing. What did you say ? 

Yo, Sist. Indeed I should have been frighted. 

Wid, Dear sister, let me confess to you, fine pre- 
sents, flattering words, and the affectionate looks of 
so obliging, so dear, and so near a relation, are 
dreadful things, when they assault principles ; the 
glittering jewel had a strange influence, and my af- 
fections began to be too partial on his side : O let no 
woman that values her soul venture into the arms 
of a husband of a different religion ! the kinder he 
is, the more likely to undo her ; everything that 
endears him to her, doubles her danger ; the more 
she loves him, the more she inclines to yield to him ; 
the more he loves her, the stronger are the bonds 
by which he draws her ; and her only mercy would 
be to have him barbarous and unkind to her. 

Yo, Sist, It is indeed a sad case, where to be 
miserable is the only safety ; but so it is, no doubt ; 
and such is the case of every woman that is thus 
unsuitably matched : if her husband is kind, he is a 
snare to her ; if unkind, he is a terror to her ; his 
love, which is his duty, is her ruin ; and his slighting 
her, which is his scandal, is her protection. 

Wid, It was my case, dear sister ; such a jewel ! 
such a husband ! how could I speak an unkind word? 
everything he did was so engaging, everything he 
said was so moving, what could I say or do ? 

Eld, Sist, Very true ; and that makes me say he 
would have conquered you at last. 

Wid, Indeed I can't tell what he might have done 
if he had lived. 

Yo, Sist, Well, but to the jewel : what said you 
to him ? 

Wid, I stood up and thanked him with a kind of 
ceremony, but told him I wished it had been rather 
in any other form. Why, my dear, says he, should 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



253 



not the two most valuable forms in the world be 
placed together? I told him that as he placed a 
religious value upon it, he should have it rather in 
another place. He told me my breast should be 
his altar ; and so he might adore with a double de- 
light : I told him I thought he was a little profane, 
and since I did not place the same value upon it, or 
make the same use of it, as he did, I might give him 
offence by mere necessity, and make that difference 
which we had both avoided with so much care, 
break in upon us in a case not to be resisted. He 
answered, No, my dear, I am not going to bribe 
your principles, much less force them: put you what 
value you think fit upon it, and give me the liberty. 
I told him I hoped I should not undervalue it as his 
present, if I did not overvalue it upon another ac- 
count. He returned warmly, My dear, the last is 
impossible ; and for the first, 'tis a trifle ; give it but 
leave to hang where I have placed it, and that's all 
the respect I ask you to show it on my account. 

Yo. Sist. Well, that was a favour you would not 
deny if a stranger had given it you. 

Wid. Dear sister, you are a stranger to the case ; 
if you had seen what was the consequence of it, you 
would have been frighted, or perhaps have fallen 
quite out with him. 

Yo. Sist. I cannot imagine what consequences 
you mean. 

Wid. Why, first of all, he told me that now he 
would be perfectly easy about my salvation, and 
would cease to pursue me with arguments or entrea- 
ties in religious matters. 

Yo. Sist. What could he mean by that ? 

Wid. Why he said he was sure that blessed 
form that hung so near my heart, would have a mi- 
raculous influence some time or other, and I should 



254 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



be brought home into the bosom of the catholic 
church. 

Yo. Sist. Well I should have ventured all that, 
and have slighted the very thoughts of it. 

Wid. You cannot imagine what stress he laid on 
it ; now, he said, every good catholic that saw me 
but pass by them, would pray for me ; and that 
every one in particular would exorcise me by the 
passion of Christ out of the chains of heresy. 

Yo. Sist. What said you to him ? 

Wid. I put it off with a smile, but my heart was 
full, I scarce knew how to hold ; and he perceived 
it easily, and broke off the talk a little ; but he fell 
to it again, till he saw the tears stood in my eyes, 
when he took me in his arms, and kissed me again; 
kissed my neck where the cross hung, and then 
kissed the jewel, repeating the word Jesu two or 
thee times, and left me. 

Eld. Sist. This was all superstition, sister; I 
should not have borne it ; I would have thrown the 
jewel in his face, or on the ground, and have set my 
foot on it. 

Wid. No, sister, you would not have done so, I 
am sure ; neither was it my business to do so ; my 
business was not to quarrel with my husband about 
his religion, which it was now too late to help, but 
to keep him from being uneasy about mine. 

Eld. Sist. I should not have had so much patience ; 
I would not have lived with him ; I do not think it 
had been my duty. 

Wid. Nay, sister, that's expressly contrary to the 
Scripture, where this very case is stated in the 
plainest manner imaginable, The woman that hath 
a husband that believeth not, if he will dwell with 
her, let her not leave him, 1 Cor. vii. 13. 

Eld. Sist. That's true indeed ; I spoke rashly, 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



255 



sister, in that ; but it was a case, I confess, I do not 
know what I should have done in it ; I would not 
have bore it then. 

Wid. That had been very disobliging. 
Eld. Sist I would have obliged him to have fore- 
borne his little idolatrous tricks then, and used them 
on other occasions. 

Wid. That had been to desire him not to be a 
Roman catholic : why, in foreign countries that are 
popish, as I understand, they never go by a cross, 
whether it be on the road, or on any building, but 
what they pull off their hats. 

Fa. So they do, my dear, and often kneel down, 
though it be in the dirt, and say over their prayers. 

Wid. It is impossible to tell you liow many at- 
tacks I had of that kind when I wore this jewel. 

Fa. I do not doubt of it ; especially if he brought 
any strangers into the room : how did you do, child, 
when the Venetian ambassador dined at your house? 
had you it on then ? 

Wid. Yes, sir, my spouse desired me to put it on, 
and I could not well deny him : but I did not know 
how to behave ; for the ambassador and all his 
retinue paid so many bows and homages to me, or 
to the cross, that I scarce knew what to do with 
myself, nor was I able to distinguish their good 
manners from their religion ; and it was well I did 
not then understand Italian, for, as my dear told 
me afterwards, they said a great many religious 
things that would have given me offence. 

Fa. Those things are so frequent in Italy, that 
the protestant ladies take no notice of them, and 
yet they all wear crosses, but sometimes put them 
out of sight. 

Wid. I did so afterwards ; I lengthened the string 
it hung to, that it might hang a little lower ; but it 
was too big; if it went within my stays it would hurt 



256 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



me : nor was it much odds to him ; for if he saw 
the string he knew the cross was there, and it was 
all one. 

Yo. Sist. Did he use any ceremony to it after the 
first time ? 

Wid. Always when he first came into any room 
where I was he was sure to give me his knee with 
his bow, and kiss the cross as well as his wife. 

Eld. Sist. I should never have borne it. 

Wid. You could never have resisted it more than 
I, for I did what I could ; but his answer was clear, 
My dear, says he, take no notice of me, let my civil- 
ities be to you, take them all to yourself ; I cannot 
show you too much respect : believe it is all your 
own, and be easy with me. 

Eld. Sist. How could he bid you believe what 
you knew to be otherwise ? why did you not leave 
it off, and reproach him with the difference ? 

Wid. Dear sister, I did so for months together : 
but then he doubled his ceremonies, and told me I 
only mortified him, then, by obliging him to rever- 
ence the place where once the blessed figure had 
been lodged, as the holy pilgrims worshipped the 
sepulchre. 

Eld. Sist. He was too hard for you every way, 
sister. 

Wid. Ay, and would have been too hard for you 
too, if you had had him. 

Eld. Sist. It is my mercy that I had him not. 

Wid. Well, it was my mercy too, that, as I had 
him, I had less inconvenience with the unhappy cir- 
cumstance than I must have had, perhaps, with any 
other man of his principles in the world. 

Eld. Sist. That's true ; only this I must add, viz., 
that those engaging ways would certainly, first or 
last, have brought you to popery. 

Wid. I hope not, sister ; but I cannot say, when 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



257 



I seriously reflect on it, how far I might have been 
led. 

Fa. My dear, let me ask you a question or two 
about that : I know the first method they take in 
such cases is to let you see that you have been mis- 
taken in your notions about popery ; that the differ- 
ence is not so great as has been suggested unto you ; 
that we are all Christians ; that we worship the 
same God, believe the same creed, expect eternal 
life by the merits of the same Saviour, and the like; 
and by this method they bring us at first not to 
have such frightful ideas of the Roman catholic re- 
ligion as we had before. 

Wid. That's true ; and this I had frequently in 
discourse ; and 1 confess such discourse ha,d some 
effect on me. 

Yo. Sist. It lessened the aversion you had to them, 
no doubt. 

Wid. It's true they became not so frightful to me 
as before ; but they had another argument which 
my dear often used to me, and it was this : My dear, 
says he, all your own divines, and all that have 
written on these subjects, own that a papist, as you 
call us, may be saved, that it is possible for us to go 
to heaven ; our church have no room to believe so 
of the protestants : why, if you may go to heaven 
among us, should you not join with us ? 

Eld. Sist. I know not what answer I should have 
given to that. 

Wid. I know not what your answer would have 
been, but I'll tell you what mine was ; I told him I 
did not know but it might be so, and I was willing 
to have as much charity as I had affection for him ; 
but as for myself, I was sure 1 could not go to 
heaven that way, because I must act against my own 
light. 

R. C. S 



258 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Yo. Sist. That was the true answer, indeed : what 
could he say to it ? 

Wid. Then he told me he would pray for me, that 
I might be further enlightened ; and he did not 
doubt but to prevail : I thanked him, and told him 
I would do the same for him, and that though per- 
haps it might not be with so strong a faith, I was 
sure it would be with as earnest a desire. 

Yo. Sist. Well, you stood your ground nobly, 
sister ; but 'tis a mercy to you that your persever- 
ance was tried no further : 'tis a dreadful thing to 
have so dangerous an enemy so near one. 

Wid. It's true, there lay my danger ; for, I must 
own, words spoken with so much tenderness have a 
singular effect, and sink deeper in the mind, than 
others, especially where the affection is so mutual as 
it was with us. 

Eld. Sist. Why, sister, do you think, in time, his 
tenderness, and his affectionate way of treating you, 
would not have abated ? 

Wid. I often feared it, but indeed I never found 
it ; sometimes I suggested it to him that 1 feared it ; 
and one day I told him that if I did not turn, I was 
afraid he would. He guessed what I meant, but 
would have me explain myself ; Wiry, my dear, says 
I, when I reflect what your thoughts are about pro- 
testants, that they are out of the pale of the church, 
and in a condition that they cannot be saved, I can- 
not but apprehend that if I do not come over to 
your opinion, your love to me will abate, and at last 
turn into a stated aversion and hatred. How can 
you love an object which you think God hates ? 
My dear, says he, taking me very affectionately in 
his arms, I will prevent all your fears by telling you, 
that were what you mention possible, it could not 
be till I utterly despaired of your ever being brought 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 259 

over to the church ; and I shall never be brought 
to believe but God will open your eyes first or last : 
and, besides, my earnest desire to persuade you, and 
win you to embrace the true religion, will teach me 
to do it by all the tenderness and love that it is 
possible for me to show you ; for to be unkind to 
you would be the way to drive you farther off : but 
be it as it will, I can never abate my affection to 
you ; and, my dear, says he, with the most obliging, 
passionate air of concern that it was possible to 
show, I hope that to love you tenderly and violently 
is not the way to keep you at a distance from the 
church, but rather to draw you, to engage you, and 
let you see that peace, love, joy, charity, and all the 
virtues of a Christian, are to be found among us, 
and not that we are furies and tyrants, as we have 
been represented. And when he had said this, 
holding me still in his arms, he kissed me several 
times, and went on : My dear, says he, let God 
alone change your heart his own way ; I'll never 
take any method but that of loving you sincerely 
and most passionately, while I live, and praying for 
you even after I am in heaven. While he said 
this I saw such an inexpressible tenderness in his 
countenance, and every word came from him with 
such passion, that I could not hold from tears ; but 
he had not done with me yet, for, while he held me 
in one arm, he put his other hand in his pocket, 
and taking out his pocket-book, he bid me open it, 
and there dropped out a loose paper, doubled pretty 
thick, which I took up, and went to put it in again : 
Take that paper, my dear, says he, and put it up ; 
you shall have a pledge for the continuance of my 
affection to you, whether you change your opinion 
or no. I opened it, but could read very little of it, 
for I had but newly begun to learn Italian. What 
is it, my dear ? said I. It is, said he, an assignment 

s 2 



260 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



on the bank of Genoa for two thousand ducats 
a year, and it shall be made over to your father in 
trust for you, and to whoever you will bestow it 
after you. 

Eld. Sist. Well, sister, I would never tell this story 
to any protestant lady that was in the least danger 
of marrying a Roman. 

Fa. Why, child, if her story be told with it, I 
think it may be told to advantage. 

Eld. Sist. It may teach them, indeed, to pray, 
Lead us not into temptation. Well, sister, I must 
repeat what I have said before to you, though it 
does grieve you ; 'tis your great mercy that he is 
dead. 

Wid. O do not speak such a word, sister ; it 
wounds my very soul. 

Eld. Sist. Pray answer me this short question, 
then : Would you marry such another papist ? 

Wid. There's not such another upon earth, sister ; 
and besides, how can you name the word ? that's 
the unkindest thing you could think of : I must 
break off the discourse. 

Eld. Sist. Do not call it unkind ; I do not mean 
it the way you take it. Suppose things at the re- 
motest distance you can, or suppose it to be any 
other body's case, would you advise any other per- 
son that had such an offer, I say, would you advise 
them to marry such another ? 

Wid. No, sister, not to be a princess. 

Eld. Sist. I am answered ; and I must own, I 
should take them for distracted if they did. 

Wid. Unless the lady resolved to turn papist ; 
and if that, she would do best to do it beforehand, 
openly and avowedly, that she might not be under 
the reflection of doing it on a worse account, viz., by 
compulsion. 

To. Sist. But after you have said so many things 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



261 



of him, that are enough to recommend him, not to 
the affection, but even to the admiration of any one, 
what can you say to persuade any young woman 
not to think that you were very happy in him, and 
that consequently they would be so with such 
another ? 

Wid. O sister ! do not suggest that I was happy 
with him : I had as few happy hours as it was 
possible for any one to have that ever had a good 
husband. 

Yo. Sist. How can you convince any one of that ? 

Wid. Why, sister, it is plain to any one that 
knows wherein the happiness of life consists. It is 
true I wanted nothing ; I lived in the abundance of 
all things ; 1 had the best-humoured husband on 
earth, and one that loved me to an extreme ; which, 
had not our case indeed called for so much affec- 
tion another way, would have been a sin ; for, in a 
word, he summed up all his earthly felicity in his 
wife. 

Eld. Sist. If you were to give that account to the 
gentlemen of this age, they would say you were 
writing the character of a fool. 

Wid. It is no matter for that ; it was his mercy 
and mine too; for if it had been otherwise, we had 
been the miserablest creatures alive ; it was bad 
enough as it was ; and all that knew him, will grant 
that he was no fool. 

Yo. Sist. But what do you think then would 
have been the consequence, if, as you say, he had 
loved you less? Wherein must you have been 
miserable ? 

Wid. Why, sister, if his abundant affection had 
not closed every debate with kindness, whither must 
we have run ! If he had not checked all the for- 
wardness of his religious zeal for converting me, by 
his love to me, to what severity in our mutual re- 



262 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



proaches should we have gone on! In a word, 
sister, I must have turned, or turned out of doors ; 
I must have been a papist, or we must have parted. 

Yo. Sist. Why sister, you know there's Mr. 

P and his wife are in the very same case, 

and yet they agree well enough. 

Wid. Dear sister, how can you name them ! He 
is a papist, and she is a protestant, and when the 
name is taken away, it is hard to tell whether 
either of them have any religion or no, nor do they 
care one farthing which way either goes : people 
that can live easy without religion, may live easy 
with any religion ; that is not the case we are 
speaking of. 

Eld. Sist. There is a difference there, I confess. 

Wid. But if, sister, a religious life be the only 
heaven upon earth, as we have been taught to 
believe, tell me, if you represent such a case to 
yourself, what must it be for two to live together, 
who place their happiness really in such a life as we 
call religious, but differ so extremely about what 
religion to build it upon ? That agree in the gene- 
ral, but not in the particulars ; that aim mutually 
at the same end, viz., going to heaven, but turn 
back to back as to the way thither ? Can a religi- 
ous life be formed between such as these! and if 
not, then they are mutually deprived of that heaven 
upon earth, which, as you and I agree, is alone to 
be found in a religious life. 

Eld. Sist. That's true, but then in such a case 
the enjoyment must be reserved and singular, and a 
woman must keep her religion to herself. 

Wid. But you will allow her then to be deprived 
at once of all social religion, of all family religion, 
and, by consequence, of all the comfort of a religious 
husband. 

Eld. Sist. Nay, that's true, and I am not speak- 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



263 



ing for it ; but asking your experience, whether 
with so tender a husband, as you had, it might not 
be otherwise ? 

Wid. Dear sister, his tenderness, as I said be- 
fore, was my great mercy, as it made him bear with 
my obstinacy, as he called it. Had he had the same 
tenderness, and been indifferent in his principles, I 
might have turned him ; but had he wanted that 
tenderness, and yet been as zealous in his religion 
as he was, he must have turned me, or T must have 
lived a dreadful life with him. 

Yo. Sist. I find he was a mighty religious man in 
his way. 

Wid. To the greatest degree imaginable devout, 
and. very serious, I assure you. 

Yo.\Sist. Well, though he was mistaken in his 
principles, yet he was the more sober, the more 
honest, and every way the better prepared to be a 
good man. 

Wid. His devotion made him, without doubt, the 
better man ; but if it had not been for the restraints 
of his affection, it had certainly made him the worse 
husband. 

Yo. Sist. So that in this question of marrying 
a man of a different opinion in religion, you sup- 
pose that the more devout and serious the person 
is in his way, the worse husband. 

Wid. Without question it is so ; the zeal in their 
own opinions makes them always uneasy and im- 
patient with their wives, teasing and baiting them 
with impertinent disputes, and even driving them 
by force of restless importunities (which, by the 
way, is the worst sort of persecution) into a com- 
pliance. 

Yo. Sist. I agree with you in that part : but, sister, 
you say, that even when your husband's love was 
your protection from these importunities, you were 



264 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



yet unhappy, and could not be able to lead a reli- 
gious life. 

Wid. No, sister, I did not say so; I said we 
could not have a religious family ; all social religion 
was lost ; mutual help and assistance in religion 
were wanting ; public worshipping God in the 
family, as a house, could not be set up ; education 
and instruction of children was all destroyed ; ex- 
ample to servants and inferiors all spoiled ; nothing 
could be of religion, but what was merely personal 
and retired. 

Aunt. There indeed you are right, niece. 

Wid. I assure you, madam, from my experience, 
that next to the having the husband and wife be 
religious, or at least religiously inclined, they that 
would have a religious family, should take as much 
care as possible to have religious servants. 

Aunt. I agree with you in that, my dear, with 
all my heart. 

Wid. It is impossible to preserve the necessary 
rules of a religious family without it, or to have 
a due regard shown to the orders which must be 
given on that account. 

Aunt. Nay, child, I go further than that ; I in- 
sist, that our servants ought to be so chosen, as 
to be of the same opinions too in religion as our- 
selves. 

Wid. I have not so much considered that part 
indeed ; but I believe, madam, the reasons for it 
are very good. 

Aunt. I have a great deal to say to that from my 
own experience. 

Eld. Sist. And so have I too, madam, from what 
I have seen in some families of my acquaintance. 

Wid. I have seen enough of it in my little 
family, to make me resolve, that while I have a 
family, and can keep any servants, I will entertain 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



265 



none but such as worship God the same way as 
I worship him. 

Eld. Sist. And did so before you took them ; I 
hope you mean so, sister. 

Wid. Yes, indeed, I do mean so too. 

Aunt. I must put in an exception, niece, there, 
in behalf of poor ignorant creatures that may come 
into a family untaught, and are willing to be in- 
structed in things that are good. 

Wid. I know not what to say to that part, be- 
cause I am but ill qualified for a schoolmistress. 

Aunt. Well, we will discourse of this by itself, 
niece, for I have a great deal to say upon that sub- 
ject. 

Wid. With all my heart, madam. 

Aunt. But in the mean time, child, let us go now 
where we left off. 

Wid. There was as much religion in our house 
as it was possible there should be, in our circum- 
stances ; for both of us desired it in general, and 
pursued it in particular, only we could not join in 
the manner : and it was a perfect scene of confusion 
to see how religion was carried on among us ; the 
servants were some papists, some protestants, some 
pagans, for we had three East Indian blacks and 
one negro among our people ; the Christian servants 
were every now and then together by the ears about 
persuading the negro to turn Christian, and be bap- 
tized, but could not bear to think what sort of 
Christian the poor creature should be ; one of our 
men, an Italian, would have him be a papist, and 
the other would have him to be a protestant; and the 
poor negro was so confounded, between them, that 
he could not tell what to do. The negro was a sens- 
ible, inquisitive fellow, and had, by mere asking 
questions on both sides, gotten a great deal of 
knowledge of religion, but was merely stopped in his 



266 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



search after farther particulars by the impertinent 
quarrels of those servants who pretended to instruct 
him : both told him he must believe a God, a future 
state, a heaven, a hell, a resurrection to life or to 
death, and that he must be saved by a Redeemer; 
they agreed exactly in their description of the joys 
of eternal life, the torments of hell, and particularly 
they had joined in giving the poor negro a frightful 
apprehension of hell, as the reward of his doing 
wickedly, and of the Devil, as a tempter, an enemy, 
and tormentor ; so that the poor fellow would pray 
to God very heartily to save him from hell, and to 
keep him from the Devil. 

But when these poor ignorant fellows began to 
instruct him how to worship God, and who to look 
to as his Redeemer and Saviour, to talk to him 
about reading the Scriptures, and such things, they 
fell out to the last degree ; the English footman 
told the Italian he was an idolator, and that was 
worse than a heathen, that Negum (for so the poor 
negro was called) was as good a Christian as he, for 
though he did not worship in the name of Christ, 
yet as he (the Italian footman) worshipped a piece 
of wood for a Saviour, Christ would not accept him, 
and it was as bad as Negum's worshipping a hob- 
goblin, or anything else. The Italian told him he 
was a heretic, and his religion was no religion at all; 
and that he was an enemy to God and to the 
church ; and told Negum that if he believed what 
that fellow said, the Devil would take him away 
alive. They had many quarrels about it ; but one 
day above the rest they came to that height that 
they fell to righting : it seems the rest of the 
servants had parted them before their master or 
I heard of it ; but as we were both walking 
together in the evening in our garden, we by 
mere chance saw the negro in the kitchen garden 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



267 



crying ; his master saw him first, and called 
him to us ; and the fellow came with a book in 
his hand, but terribly afraid his master should be 
angry. 

What's the matter, Negum ? says his master ; and 
so they began to talk. 

Neg. No muchee matter, no muchee. 

Ma. Why you were crying, Negum : what did 
you cry about ? has any body beat you ? 

Neg. No muchee cry, no beatee me. 

Ma. What then, Negum? what book have you 
got there ? 

Neg. Indeed ee me no go away, sir ; {kneels down) 
me no go, me be a Christian, no indeedee. 

( The fellow, it seems, was afraid his master ivould 
think, if he turned Christian, he would be baptized, 
and so think himself free ; and he kneeled down to 
his master to beg him not to be angry.) 

Ma. Well, well, thou shalt be a Christian, Negum, 
if thou hast a mind to it ; God forbid anybody 
should hinder thee : what book's that ? 

Neg. Bible book ; me readee this book to be 
Christian. 

Ma. Who gave you that book to read ? 
Neg. Augustino. 
Ma. Let me see it. 

{He looked in the book, and saw it was an Italian 
missal, or psalter.) 

Neg. Me have other Bible book too. 
{He pulls another book out.) 
Ma. Let's see that too. 

{His master looked in that too, and found it teas 
an English Bible.) 

Ma. Who gave you this too ? 
Neg. William. 

Ma. Well, you understand the languages, read 



268 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP 



them both : but, poor fellow, thou hast got but two 
sorry teachers. 

When he gave the books back to him, and bid 
him read them both, he turned to me, My dear, 
says he, these fellows pretend to instruct this poor 
negro in the Christian religion, when they can't 
agree about it themselves, I am sure. Upon which 
Negum makes his master a bow, and puts in his 
word. 

Neg. No, indeedee, they no agree ; they fightee 
just now about teachee me. 
Ma. What, did they fight ? 

Neg. Yes, indeedee, they fightee just now : they 
no teachee me ; one say me go to the Devil, t'other 
say me go to the Devil ; they no teachee me to go 
away from the Devil, they make me no know what 
J do. 

Ma. And was that it you cried about, Negum ? 

Neg. Yes, indeedee, me cry to go to the Devil ! me 
would go away from the Devil. 

Ma. You must pray to God to keep you from the 
Devil. 

Neg. Yes, indeedee, me do pray God to keep 
away the Devil. 

Ma. You must pray to God to teach you too. 

Neg. God teachee me ! no, Augustin teachee 
me! no, William teachee me ! God teachee me, how 
that? 

Here my spouse found how the case stood, and 
turning to me, My dear, says he, these fellows 
quarrel continually about this poor man, and so in 
the end he will be brought rather to abhor the 
Christian religion in general, than to turn Christian 
at all, while one pulls him one way and one another ; 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



269 



now what course must you and I take ? I cannot 
pretend to desire him to be made a protestant, I am 
sure you won't desire him to be a catholic ; and so 
the poor fellow must be lost. I told him it was a 
critical case, in which I knew not how to act ; but 
as they were his servants in particular, and that he 
brought his negro out of Italy with him, I thought 
they were to be at his disposal and direction rather 
than mine. My dear, says he, there is nothing mine 
but what is yours ; don't shift it off so, but tell me 
what I shall do ? I confess I trembled when he 
said so, for I was afraid seme debate would fall in 
between us in consequence of the case ; however I 
answered him thus : My dear, you determined be- 
fore for me, what you might be sure would be my 
thoughts ; but what can I determine about your 
servants ? Well, my dear, says he, I'll do as Solo- 
mon did in the case of dividing the child, I'll show 
you that I am the truest lover of his soul, I mean of 
us two ; for rather than he should not be taught to 
worship God at all, let him be taught the way of the 
country where we are ; if we divide, as our two men 
have done, he will not be taught at all. 

Upon this principle he acted, and consented I 
should act in it as I saw cause ; upon which I sent 
the negro down to a country tenant we have in Essex, 
upon pretence to learn to plough and sow, and do 
country work, and there I kept him near a twelve- 
month ; at the same time, the farmer being a very 
sober, religious man, and having a hint from me 
what to do, this poor negro is become a very sensible, 
religious fellow, has been baptized now two years 
ago, and I think verily is an excellent Christian. 

SisL And did he run away, or claim his freedom 
upon his being baptized ? 

Wid. No, not he ; but I gave him his freedom 



270 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



when his master died, and gave him wages, and he 
is an extraordinary servant, I assure you. 

Sist. Your husband strained a point of religion 
there, I assure you. 

Wid. Why you see what principle he did it 
from ; he saw the fellow was in a protestant coun- 
try, and would either be a protestant at last, or 
nothing at all ; and he rather chose he should be 
a protestant, than remain a heathen, or lose all 
desire of being a Christian ; For, says he, God 
can enlighten him further, by a miracle, when he 
pleases ; and the having been taught the general 
notions of religion, he would be the easier brought 
to embrace the true church ; but if he continues a 
heathen, he will have no knowledge at all. 

Eld. Sist. I believe you would not have shown 
the same charity for his church. 

Wid. I confess I did not show so much zeal for 
the soul of the poor negro, as I think I ought to 
have done, or so much charity as he did ; but had 
other thoughts at that time to take me up : how- 
ever, sister, to bring this back to the first discourse, 
you see by this how fatal in a family, difference in 
principles is within the same house ; and had he 
not been biassed by an extraordinary temper, as 
well as by an uncommon charity, we had been the 
most miserable couple on earth : so that, in short, 
there is not one part of a woman's life in such a cir- 
cumstance that is not dreadfully embarrassed, if she 
has any sense of her own principles, or her husband 
any sense of his. 

Yo. Sist. But do you think then, that there may 
be a case of some kind or other, in which a man and 
a woman may be happy together, though there be a 
difference in opinions ? 

Wid. No indeed, I do not think there is : I do 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



271 



not think you can name a case in which it is pos- 
sible to say with truth, that they can be happy ; that 
is, that there is not some interruption to their hap- 
piness on that very account. 

Yo. Sist. That is, supposing them to be both re- 
ligiously inclined. 

Wid. Nay, that need not be supposed ; for we go 
upon our mother's principle, that without a re- 
ligious family there can be no happiness of life: if 
they are, as I said before, indifferent about religion, 
then there is no happiness at all in our sense of fe- 
licity ; and if they place their happiness in pursuing 
their duty, as every true Christian must, there must 
be some of that happiness wanting, where they can- 
not worship God together, and go hand in hand to 
heaven. 

Yo. Sist. You know, sister, I was always of that 
mind ; but I am exceedingly confirmed in it by your 
experience. 

Wid. You were happy in your early cleaving to 
this principle, and I miserable in neglecting it; may 
both our examples be directing to those that come 
after us ! 

Fa. Come, children, blessed be God for the ex- 
perience of both : let us end this discourse, for it 
makes me melancholy, that have had a very un- 
happy part in both your cases : in yours my dear, 
{speaking to the youngest,) I violently endeavoured 
to force you to be miserable ; and in yours, my dear, 
{speaking to the other,) I entirely omitted the 
concern I ought to have had upon me, to prevent 
your making yourself so. 

Sist. Do not afflict yourself, sir, about that now ; 
blessed be God we have both got it over. 

Fa. But it does afflict me for all that ; and let 
all fathers learn from me, how much it concerns 
them, if they wish well to their children, either to 



272 RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 

their souls or bodies, to establish religious fa- 
milies in their posterity, and to prevent their 
children marrying, if possible, either where there 
is no religion, or no agreement in opinion about 
it; for in either case they are sure to be made 
miserable. 



The end of the second part. 



APPENDIX. 



PART III. 

In the latter part of the last discourse we left the aunt 
and the widow sister, who had married the Roman 
catholic gentleman, entering upon a discourse 
about the inconveniences of entertaining irre- 
ligious servants ; and also of entertaining of ser- 
vants of differing persuasions and opinions in re- 
ligion one from another, or of differing opinions 
from the family they served in. The ladies put off 
the discourse of that affair for another time, the 
aunt being willing to enter into a more particular 
conversation about it. This caused several very 
entertaining discourses among them at several 
times, some of which, I hope, may be useful to be 
made public for the direction of other families, and 
for the encouragement of all masters or mistresses 
of families, who desire to promote good govern- 
ment and religious things among their children and 
servants ; and particularly in such a time as this, 
when it is known that servants are less apt to submit 
to family regulations, and good household govern- 
ment, than ever. 

The two ladies being at their aunt's house, 
which was at Hampstead, as I have observed, their 
aunt had a little squabble with one of her maids 
upon the following occasion : the maid had, it seems, 

R. C. T 



274 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



been out in the afternoon of a Sabbath-day, and 
stayed longer than the usual time of being at church ; 
and her lady, who otherwise had known nothing of it, 
happened, unluckily for the wench, to be just in the 
way when she came in ; that is to say, the lady 
chancing to go down the back stairs, which was 
not ordinary for her to do, meets her maid dressed 
in her best clothes, and just going up to undress 
herself ; and this rencounter between the mistress 
and the maid produced the following dialogue. 



DIALOGUE I. 

Lady. Ha ! Mary, says the lady, not undressed 
yet! 

Mary. I shall be ready presently, madam. 

La. But how come you to be so fine at this time 
of day ? I suppose you are but just come in, Mary ? 

Ma. Yes, madam, I have been come in a good 
while. 

La. What do you call a good while, Mary ? 

Ma. A great while, madam. 

La. Must not I know how long, Mary ? 

Ma. Yes, madam, if you please ; but you don't 
use to inquire into such trifles ; I hope I have not 
been wanted. 

La. It would have been a trifle, Mary, if it had 
been of another day ; but it being on the Sabbath- 
day, Mary, makes the case differ extremely : I hope 
you were at church, Mary ? 

Ma. Yes, madam, to be sure. 

La. At our church, Mary ? I think I did not see 
you there. 

Ma. No, madam, indeed I was not there ; I hope 
'tis all one if I was at another church ? 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP* 



275 



La. No, Mary, it is not all one, because I cannot 
be sure that you were at any church at all. 

Ma. You may take my word, madam, for that, for 
once, I hope. 

La. I cannot say, Mary, that 'tis so much to my 
satisfaction to take your word for it, as it would 
have been to see you at church myself. 

Ma. I am sorry, madam, you should be uneasy 
at those things ; I hope I do your business to your 
content ; and as to going to church, I hope I may 
be at liberty to go to what church I like best. 

La. Why yes, Mary, I am willing to allow 
liberty of conscience, but then it is upon condition 
that it is really a conscientious liberty ; 'tis not my 
question what church you go to, if I am satisfied 
you were at church at all ; but how shall I be sure 
of that, Mary ? 

Ma. "Tis not worth your inquiry, madam ; those 
things are trifles below a mistress to trouble herself 
with. 

La. No, Mary, you are much mistaken there ; I 
think I am obliged to inquire whether my servants 
go to church or no ; and how they spend their 
time o' Sabbath-days : besides, Mary, 'tis a great 
while since church was done, and I find you are but 
just come home ; I desire to have some little ac- 
count where you have been. 

Ma. I am not ashamed to tell where I have been, 
madam ; I have been doing no harm ; I have been 
taking a walk, madam ; I work hard enough all the 
week ; I think I may take a little pleasure o' Sun- 
days. 

La. Well, Mary, so you have been walking in 
the fields, and taking your pleasure to-day ? 

Ma. Yes, madam ; I hope there is no offence in 
it; I think you said I have not been wanted. 

t 2 



276 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



La. Well, but just now you said you had been at 
church, Mary. 

Ma. Why, that's true, madam ; I was at High- 
gate church-door, but I did not go in, that's true ; 
I did not think you would have troubled yourself to 
examine such trifles so very particularly. 

La. You and I differ very much about the thing 
itself ; I do not think 'tis a trifling thing at all, 
Mary, whether my servants spend the Sabbath-day 
at church, or in taking their pleasure. 

Ma. I work very hard, madam, all the week. 

La. What's that to keeping the Sabbath-day, 
Mary? 

Ma. Why, madam, sure I may take a little 
pleasure o' Sundays ; I have no other time ; I am 
sure you give your servants no time for diversion. 

La. Did I ever refuse you, Mary, when you 
asked me for a day for yourself? 

Ma. I never troubled you much with asking. 

La. I had rather you had, Mary, than take God's 
time for yourself. 

Ma. God's time, madam ; all our time is God's 
time, I think. 

La. Yes, Mary ; but some time he has appointed 
for religion, Mary. 

Ma. Religion ! O dear ! indeed, madam, I don't 
trouble myself about religion, not I. 

La. So I find, Mary, and am sorry for it. 

Ma. O madam, you have religion enough for us 
all : what can I do ? 

La. Don't make a jest of it, Mary, I am not 
jesting with you. 

Ma. I think you are, madam, when you talk to 
me of religion ; 1 don't understand it ; what can I 
say to it ? 

La. You can go to church, Mary, can't you ? 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



277 



Ma. Yes, madam, so I do sometimes. 

La. And don't you every Sunday ? 

Ma. No indeed, madam, not I ; 'tis a folly to lie. 

La. I am sorry for it, Mary ; I assure you, they 
that live with me shall go to church every Sunday, 
or I shall not desire their service. 

Ma. You never made that bargain, madam, when 
you hired me. 

La. Well, Mary, then I make it now; for they 
shall not serve me all the week, that make my work 
an excuse for not serving God on Sunday ; I should 
think it would bring a curse upon my work, and 
upon my whole family. 

Ma. As you please for that, madam. 

La. No, Mary, it must be as you please, it seems, 
for you know my conditions now, and I expect you 
will observe them, or remove. 

(Here her mistress left her, seeing she began to 
talk a little saucily, and she had no mind to vex 
herself, or put herself in any passion ivith her.) 

The wench, a little heated with the reproof her 
lady had given her, and vexed that she was caught, 
for she did not expect to see her mistress on the 
back stairs, went up and undressed herself, and 
hearing another of the maids in the next room, she 
goes to her, and there gives a full vent to her pas- 
sion ; railing heartily at her mistress, and at reli- 
gion, and at everything that came in her way. 
The following discourse will give some part of their 
talk : she knocks at the door, and calls to her fellow- 
servant thus : Betty, open the door, I want to speak 
to you : so Betty let her in, and she begins. 

Ma. I suppose you have heard what a lecture I 
have had, ha'n't you, Betty ? 

Betty. No, not I : who have you had a lecture 
from ? 



278 



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Ma. Nay, nobody but my mistress : I wonder 
what business she had upon the back stairs. 

Bet. Back stairs ! why did you meet my mis- 
tress upon the back stairs ? 

Ma. Ay, ay, 1 met her there ; or rather she met 
me there, as ill luck would have it ; for I was but 
just come in, and was coming up to undress me, 
but she caught me ; I would I had been a mile 
off. 

Bet. Why what did she say to you ? was she 
angry ? 

Ma. Ay, ay, angry ! I never had such a rattle 
from her since I came into the house. 

Bet. What was the matter ? what was it for ? 

Ma. For ! for nothing, I think ; but forsooth she 
would needs know where I had been, and whether 
I had been at church, or no : what has she to do 
with it, whether I go to church or no ? 'tis nothing 
to her. 

Bet. O that was only because you was but just 
come in, and it was so long past church-time, I 
suppose, that made her suspect you. 

Ma. Suspect me ! what do you mean by that ? 
I do nothing to be suspected, not I. 

Bet. I don't say you do ; I say that made her 
suspect you had not been at church. 

Ma. Well, she need not trouble her head with 
her suspicions of me ; I told her I had not been at 
church ; I told her I had been taking a walk with a 
friend as far as Highgate. 

Bet. Did you ? that's more than I dare do ; if I 
make a slip now and then, I am in such a hurry to 
get back just as church is done, that it takes away 
the pleasure of it. 

Ma. I don't trouble my head with it ; if I have a 
mind to take a walk, as long as she don't want me, 
what need she trouble herself ; I shan't be so much 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



279 



afraid of her, not I ; as long as it is only o' Sunday, 
and my work is done too. 

Bet. But then I can assure you my mistress and 
you will not agree long together ; for if she knows 
it, she won't keep you an hour. 

Ma. Nay, she may do as she will for that ; I told 
her plainly where I went, and that I thought she 
had nothing to do with it. 

Bet. Did you so, Mary? Then I suppose she 
told you her mind ? 

Ma. Ay, ay, and I told her my mind too ; I 
won't be tied up to her religious trumpery, not I ; 
if I do her work, what has she to do with what reli- 
gion I am of, or whether I have any religion or no ? 
'tis no business of hers. 

Bet. No, Mary, I cannot go that length neither : 
I think my mistress may concern herself with that ; 
for if she is religious herself, she may desire to have 
her servants be so too ; and therefore if I do make 
a breach sometimes, I always do it so as not to be 
found out : and I have such good luck, that my 
mistress has never caught me yet. 

Ma. Well, she has caught me ; and if it be a fine 
day next Sunday, she shall catch me again, if she 
has a mind to it ; I won't be tied to go to church but 
when I please ; I love liberty : besides, this is about 
religion, Betty, and, so 'tis liberty of conscience; 
you know I love liberty of conscience, Betty. 

Bet. You are witty upon it, Mary : pray what do 
you call liberty of conscience ? 

Ma. What ! that I should have liberty to go to 
church, or not go to church, as I think fit, and when 
I please : is not that liberty of conscience ? 

Bet. No, Mary, I think that is liberty without 
conscience, for 'tis a liberty in what we should not 
do ; that can never be liberty of conscience, Mary. 
Ma. Well, well; then let it be liberty without 



280 



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conscience ; 'tis the liberty I love ; and I see no 
harm in it : why you acknowledge you do so your- 
self, don't you ? 

Bet. That's true, so I do sometimes ; but I cannot 
say 'tis as it should be ; I cannot say as you do, that 
there is no harm in it ; 'tis a fault, I know that ; 
and I don't do it very often ; and when I do, as I 
told you, I take care not to have it known. 

Ma. Very well, then you are worse than I ; for 
you believe it is a fault, and yet do it ; now I don't 
think 'tis a fault at all ; if I did, it may be I would 
not do it. 

Bet. I don't believe you can say with a safe con- 
science that there is no harm in it ; you only are 
hardened a little more than I. 

Ma. It may be so ; and you are even with me, 
for you are a little more of a hypocrite than I, and 
for aught I see, that's all the difference between us. 

Bet. Truly, Mary, your reproof is bitter : but 
perhaps 'tis too true ; and I shall learn so much 
from you, that I shall take more care how I do again 
what my own conscience convinces me is a fault. 

Ma. Well, and I may go on, because I have more 
impudence than you, I suppose that's what you 
mean? 

Bet. I do not say so ; I believe you know 'tis a 
fault as well as I do, but you are a little more used 
to those things, it may be, than I have been. 

Ma. I am as I was bred, and so, it may be, are 
you ; I was never taught to lay much stress upon 
these things, and so I never trouble myself about 
them. 

Bet. Well, Mary, I am glad you think I have 
been taught better. 

Ma. Why, as well as you have been taught, I find 
you can take a walk in the fields o' Sunday as well 
as I. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



281 



Bet. But I tell you again, I don't do it and think 
there's no harm in it, as you do ; and you have 
touched me so home with your reproof, that I re- 
solve never to do so again while I live. 

Ma. But what's all this to my mistress and me ? 
what has she to do with it ? 

Bet. Why Mary, my mistress is a very pious, re- 
ligious lady, and she thinks herself bound to call her 
servants to an account how they spend their time. 

Ma. Ay, so she may for all the week-days, for 
that's her time ; but Sunday is my own, she has 
nothing to do with that. 

Bet. I assure you my mistress will not allow that 
doctrine ; she thinks she has as much to do with 
you on Sunday as any other day. 

Ma. You talk of my mistress being a religious 
lady, why so she may be, for aught I know ; and I 
think we have so much religion at home, we need 
not go abroad for it : does not the chaplain tease us 
twice a day with his long prayers, and reading of 
chapters ? I am sure he has made me neglect my 
business many times to come to prayers : but I give 
them the slip sometimes, and if I did not, they would 
have many a good dish of meat spoiled, so they would. 

Bet. You are a merry girl, Mary, when you talk 
of religion. 

Ma. Nay, I don't understand it ; I know nothing 
of the matter ; I come to do my business, and mind 
the kitchen ; if their dinners are not well dished up, 
they may find fault, and I should take some care to 
mend it ; but to talk to me about religion, 'tis time 
enough hereafter; let them let me alone to myself. 

Bet. But my mistress will satisfy you that she is 
obliged, while she keeps you for a servant, to see 
that you serve God as well as you serve her. 

Ma. O dear! let them serve God themselves 
better first ; I don't see that any of them have any 



282 RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 

more regard to their prayers and their chapters than 
I have that stay away, but only for form sake, and 
it may be for the credit of employing a chaplain. 

Bet. Nay, do not say so neither ; I can assure 
you my mistress is a very pious, religious lady, and 
you cannot say otherwise, I am sure ; and so are all 
the young ladies too, they are like her. 

Ma. It may be so ; and yet I have seen them all 
asleep at prayers, many a time, when I am sure they 
had not so much more need to be sleepy than I had 
that work hard, nor so much neither. 

Bet. Sometimes they may be heavy, but that is 
not often ; and I suppose you cannot say they were 
ever all asleep together. 

Ma. "Tis no matter for that, they do the same at 
church ; and pray what's the difference between my 
going into the fields to take my pleasure on Sundays 
and their going to church to take their ease ? be- 
tween my washing my dishes, while the chaplain is 
at prayers, and their being fast asleep at prayers ? 

Bet. Why, Moll, thou art very malicious to take 
notice of such things, and they are faults to be 
sure ; but there is a vast difference in them too. 

Ma. As how, pray? 

Bet. Why thus: that though they may sometimes 
drop asleep, 'tis not always : and they do it but sel- 
dom. You, it seems, make the other a practice, and 
do it always ; then if they do sleep sometimes at 
church or at prayers, they don't pretend to say there 
is no harm in it, they must acknowledge they ought 
not to do so ; but you have the impudence to say, 
when you spend your time in the fields, or perhaps 
worse, there is no harm in it. Now there's a great 
deal of difference between doing a thing which they 
acknowledge to be wrong, and doing what is really 
wrong, and justifying it as if it was right. 

Ma. Well, let them do what they will, and let me 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



283 



do what I will ; I don't meddle with them, let them 
let me alone, can't they ? 

Bet But it may be, my mistress thinks she ought 
to govern her servants in religious things, as well as 
in her house affairs. 

Ma. Why let her think what she will, and do 
what she will, I will have my own way, I shall mind 
nothing they say to me. 

Bet. That's none of my business, Mary; you must 
do as you will. 

Ma. No ; and it is none of her business neither, 
I think. 

Bet. I can't say that, Mary ; I think if you were 
a mistress, and kept a great many servants, as our 
mistress does, you would talk otherwise, and do 
otherwise too, or else you would soon have a house 
full of whores and rogues. 

Ma. I don't know what I would do then, nor do 
I trouble my head with it ; for I am never like to be 
tried with it : but if I was a housekeeper, and kept 
maids, I would take care they should do my business, 
and that would keep them from making such a dis- 
orderly house as you speak of; as for their reli- 
gion, I should not trouble myself about it. 

Bet. Well, but I would trouble myself about that 
too, 1 assure you, if 1 were a mistress. 

Ma. Why what would you do ? 

Bet. Why, if I had a chaplain, or a husband that 
kept up good orders in his house, I would take care 
my servants should always attend at prayers ; and 
on Sundays I would take care they should all go to 
church, and come home again too when church was 
done. 

Ma. You would ! and if I was your maid you 
would make me come in to prayers every night and 
morning, would you ? 

Bet Yes, I would, or you should not live with me. 



284 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Ma. Well, and if I did come in, I should only 
laugh at you all when I did, and make a jest of 
your chaplain or your husband, and so would other 
servants too : don't you see we do so here ? an't 
we always making sport at our poor dull thing 
called a chaplain ? 

Bet. Yes, I can't say but I see it, but I never 
join with you in it ; for I think there's no jest at all 
in it : and as for the poor good man himself, I know he 
sees it, and 'tis a great trouble and discouragement 
to him. 

Ma. Why what is such a fellow good for, but 
to be gamed and made sport with ? does he think 
we take him for anything but a religious merry- 
andrew ? 

Bet. You must think, however, my mistress takes 
him otherwise, and thinks it her duty to keep him, 
and to have good orders in her house ; and it does 
not become us that are servants to mock at such 
things. No master or mistress that knew their 
servants mocked at God's worship in their house, 
ought to keep those servants an hour longer in their 
families. 

Ma. And you would make me come to church if 
I was your cook, would you, Betty ? 

Bet. No, I don't say I would make you go to 
church, but you should either go to God's worship, 
or go about your business. 

Ma. Well, but what if I were a dissenter, and did 
not like your way, or did not care to go to church ? 
Or what if you were a dissenter, and I did not like 
to go to the meeting-house ? 

Bet. Why truly, Mary, in general, I say if that 
were the real case, I would not restrain you, pro- 
vided I was satisfied you went but somewhere ; but 
your dispute with my mistress is between going 
somewhere and nowhere ; not between serving God 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



285 



in this manner or that manner, but between serving 
God some way or other, and serving him no way at 
all ; and that alters the case mightily. 

Ma. But as to the matter of coming to prayers 
at home, it would be the same thing ; for if I were 
a church woman, and my mistress a dissenter ; or I 
a dissenter, and my mistress of the church; a 
quaker, and my mistress a Roman catholic ; or 
my mistress a quaker, and I a Roman catholic, 
it would be all the same thing ; there would be the 
same dislike and contempt of what was done in the 
house ; I should no more like the crosses and the 
masses of the papists, the yea and nay of the 
quakers, and the reading prayers of the church, 
or extempore prayers of the presbyterians, if 1 was 
of the other opinion, than I like now any of them 
while I declare I understand none of them ; and so 
all their family doings would be but a jest to me, 
and I'll make a jest of them. 

Bet. Why this is too true ; and therefore I must 
own, that if I were mistress of a house, I would al- 
ways have my servants go to the same place, to 
serve God, as I did myself, or I would not keep 
them ; whether I went to the church, the meeting- 
house, to the quaker's meeting, or to the mass- 
house. 

Ma. And what would you be the better? they 
would but make a jest of you still ; they would be 
not the more of your opinion for forcing them to 
go where you went. 

Bet. You mistake me much ; I mean, they 
should be such as by choice went to worship so be- 
fore they came to me, and that declared their 
opinion to be so when I hired them ; for otherwise, 
I grant, that compelling them afterwards would be 
nothing at all, or perhaps worse than the other. 

Ma. And what if an honest, plain wench, like me, 



286 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



came to be hired, that knows nothing at all of reli- 
gion, and troubled not herself about it ? 

Bet. Why, such a one, when I asked her whether 
she went to this or that place, would say yes to any 
of them, as I happened to be myself, and so I might 
be deceived. 

Ma. Well, and what would you do then, when 
you found her out, and met her on the back stairs, 
Bess, as my mistress has done by me ? 

Bet. Why I should do just as my mistress has 
done with you, inquire about it, and when I found 
you a reprobate, profane wench, and a saucy one 
too, as it seems you acknowledge you have shown 
yourself to-day, I should even give you warning to 
mend your manners, or provide yourself, as it seems 
my mistress has done too. 

Ma. A pretty story ! so I am come to make my 
complaint to you to a fine purpose : it seems you 
think me in the wrong all the way. 

Bet. Indeed so I do. 

Ma. And what if I had come to you to be hired, 
and you had asked my opinion about religion, and 
I had answered you that I had not had many 
thoughts about it ; that all opinions were alike to 
me ; that when I did go anywhere, I would go 
where you would have me go, and the like ? 

Bet. Why Mary, I must own I should not like it 
at alt ; neither, 1 believe, should I hire you at all ; 
I should be afraid to take such a stupid despiser of 
God and religion into my house ; you should even 
go without a mistress of me. 

Ma. Well, and you might go without a servant 
too of me ; for I can tell you, there are mistresses 
enough in the world that never ask the question 
either before or after, nor care whether their ser- 
vants serve God or the Devil. 

Bet. Ay, Mary, and that is one reason why so 
many of us servants are of the same kind. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



287 



Ma, Well, well, I don't doubt, however, but I 
shall get a place among them, and not be questioned 
about going to church ; I go to service to work, not 
to learn my catechism ; I understand my cookery, 
what is it to them whether I understand religion or 
no ? 

Bet. Why look you, Mary, I don't learn my 
catechism any more than you, and yet I do not like 
my mistress the worse, I assure you, for taking care 
that her servants should go to church, and not 
caring to keep those that are despisers of religion. 
I think 'tis pity any lady that is religious should 
not have religious servants about her. 

They had another dialogue upon this subject 
afterwards ; but it had too much passion in it to 
merit a place in this account ; for the case was this; 
Betty gave her lady an account of some part of 
Mary's discourse, particularly that of making a jest 
of her chaplain, and of calling the family to prayers; 
upon which her mistress turned her out of her 
house, giving her a month's wages instead of a 
month's warning, as one not fit to be allowed to stay 
in the family ; and Mary fell upon her fellow-ser- 
vant for that part in a great rage. Betty told her 
in so many words, she thought herself obliged to 
mention it, though it was not till her mistress hav- 
ing heard that they had discoursed it together, 
made her promise to give her a full account of all 
that had passed between them ; and if she had not 
done it faithfully, her mistress would have put 
them both away together. 

These two short dialogues or disputes about the 
maid's rambling on the Sabbath-day, was the rea- 
son why the young lady's aunt was willing to dis- 
course again with her niece upon that subject ; and 
accordingly, meeting together some time after, they 



288 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



renewed their discourse about servants in the 
following manner : 

Aunt. I think, niece, when you and I talked last, 
we were upon the subject of taking religious ser- 
vants ; I want to hear what you have to say upon 
that head ; for I think there is really much more 
in it than most people imagine. 

Niece. Truly, madam, it is what I lay great 
stress upon ; and though I have not had much occasion 
to complain in the few years I have kept house, yet 
I have seen so much of it in my mother's time, and 
since that in other families, and a little in my own, 
that I am resolved what shift 1 make I will have no 
servants but such as at least have a common reve- 
rence for religion, and for religious persons in a 
family. To be sure I will never have any scoffers 
and mockers of religion, if I can help it. 

Aunt. As the world goes now, child, it will be 
very hard to find such ; for religion is so much 
made a jest of among masters, that it is hard to find 
any servants that do not jest at it too, and mock 
and slight all those that have any regard to it. 

Niece. That's my case, madam, exactly ; but 
there is another mischief in it too. 

Aunt. Another mischief, child ! there are innu- 
merable family mischiefs in it. 

Niece. I believe so, madam. But this is one par- 
ticular case, and which I have the greater reason to 
take notice of, because a certain lady, an acquaint- 
ance and neighbour of mine, has had a great deal of 
that kind, and indeed in a particular manner, with 
her servants. 

Aunt. What lady is that ? pray do I know her ? 

Niece. You had some discourse with her, madam, 
if I remember right, the last time you did me the 
favour to dine with me. 

Aunt. I remember it very well, and we talked a 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



289 



little upon that very subject; I mean, how rude and 
insolent servants were grown at this time ; but I 
think we had not much talk of their being irreligious 
and profane. 

Niece. Madam, she had a servant whom they 
called her woman, for she was one to whom she in- 
trusted everything, and who was like a housekeeper, 
and all the servants were as it were under her ; she 
was a very good sort of a body indeed in the house, 
and as that lady, if you remember, was very lame, 
she could not stir about to look much after her ser- 
vants herself, and trusted all to this woman. 

She was a sensible woman, had the knowledge of 
almost everything in the world, and talked admir- 
able well, had a world of wit and humour, very 
mannerly and well-behaved, sober, and modest 
enough ; in short, she was an excellent servant. 

Aunt. You give her an extraordinary character, 
niece, I assure you. 

Niece. In a word, madam, she had everything 
about her that could be desired in a servant, but 
religion ; and of that she was as entirely empty as 
you can imagine it possible for any creature in the 
world to be, and that had ever heard of God or 
Devil, or had lived among Christians. 

Aunt. Nay, niece, you say she was not an ignorant 
body. 

Niece. No, indeed, madam, she was so far frcm 
being ignorant that she was able to deceive anybody ; 
she would talk of religious things as well, and argue 
upon them strongly enough to delude anybody : and 
this made it the worse, for she was such a human devil, 
that she made use of a fluent tongue, and of an un- 
common wit, not to talk irreligiously only, but to 
mock and make a jest of religion in general, and of 
all those that had any regard for it. 

Aunt. She was a dangerous body, indeed! pray 
r. c. u 



290 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



was she a maid or a wife ? for she is not very young, 
it seems. 

Niece. She had never been married, madam, but 
I think was engaged to a man whom my spouse sent 
to Italy, and they are to be married when he comes 
back. 

Aunt. You say she is a sober woman ? 

Niece. Yes, madam, I dare say she is ; but her 
wicked, profane, and atheistical behaviour is enough 
to poison a whole family. 

Aunt. But why does the lady, your friend, enter- 
tain such a one in her house? 

Niece. She has such a subtlety in her conduct, 
and behaves so cunningly, that her mistress does 
not perceive it, at least she does not think her so 
bad as she is. 

Aunt. But what says her husband to it ? does he 
know it ? 

Niece. Yes, madam, he knows more of it than 
she does, for the men-servants tell him of it, and 
give him a particular account sometimes of passages 
which they observe. 

Aunt. Perhaps he don't trouble himself about it : 
for the men do not often value these things. 

Niece. Indeed, madam, just the contrary ; for he 
is a very sober, religious gentleman, and keeps very 
good order in his house, and 'tis a very great dis- 
turbance to him. 

Aunt. And has he spoken of it to his wife ? 

Niece. Yes, madam, he has very often, and told 
her such particulars as are very essential to the 
good of the family, and such too as almost carry 
their own evidence with them. 

Aunt. And what does she say ? 

Niece. I know not indeed how she manages, but 
I know that her husband and she have had more 
words about it than about all other matters put to- 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



gether since they were married ; and sometimes it 
grows high, and they are very warm, and even angry 
about it. 

Aunt. Why she seems to be a good sensible reli- 
gious lady : how can she take such a creature's part, 
especially against her husband ? 

Niece. Why first of all she pretends that she 
does not believe it, that the other servants rival her 
the favour she receives, and her mistress's particu- 
lar kindnesses, and do it out of a malicious de- 
sign ; then she says she has examined her, and 
finds she clears herself of much of the charge, and 
makes the rest to appear trifling, and not worth 
notice. 

Aunt. But perhaps, niece, it really may be so too, 
and the other servants may make things worse than 
they are, for the reasons you mention. 

Niece. But, madam, it is otherwise in fact ; for 
the truth is, this wench, or woman, manages all the 
servants so effectually, that, in short, if any of them 
are religiously inclined when they come, she makes 
them ashamed to be so when they come to her ; for 
she makes a mock of religion, and such a jest of 
going to church, or going to prayers in the family, 
that she laughs them out of their religion, and, in a 
word, they all turn reprobates like herself. 

Aunt. But can this be, and her lady not know or 
hear of it ? 

Niece. Yes, very well, madam ; for, as I told you, 
she is an excellent servant, and the more her mis- 
tress is loath to part with her the harder she is to 
believe these things of her. 

Aunt. But, niece, her husband, you say, knows it; 
sure she will believe him. 

Niece. But she alleges he knows it but by hearsay 
from the rest of the servants, who, she says, hate 
her, and therefore falsely accuse her. 

u 2 



292 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Aunt. But does he know nothing from his own 
knowledge ? 

Niece. Yes, madam, he knows too much ; for the 
unwary creature let him overhear her one evening 
making her jeers of, and flout at him, to some of 
the servants, but behind his back, for his calling 
them all to prayers ; and not only so, but at some 
expressions which he had used some time or other, 
which she pretended were nonsense, and others 
trifling, and the like, as the redundancy of her wit 
gave her room to banter, 

Aunt. That was very unhappy, indeed, and the 
worse that he should know it too. 

Niece. So it was, madam, for it made the poor 
gentleman decline performing his duty for some 
time, and made a very great breach between him 
and his lady, which is hardly quite made up yet. 

Aunt. Why so, pray? 

Niece. Why, madam, she wanted to have him 
continue to go on with his duty, and to pray in the 
family as he used to do. He declared he could not 
do it while that creature was to be there ; that it 
was a restraint to him, and he could not perform 
when he knew there was one in the place who made 
a scoff and jeer at him for it. She alleged he ought 
to perform his duty for all that ; and that it was a 
piece of the Devil's craft, contrived to interrupt the 
worship of God in his family, and that he ought to 
disregard it entirely. 

Aunt. Well, I think he was very much in the 
wrong in that part, for he certainly ought not to 
have omitted his duty upon so mean an objection as 
that. 

Niece. That is true, and he owned it ; but said 
it was a difficulty upon him, a restraint to him in 
the performance of his duty, and that she ought to 
remove it from him. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



293 



Aunt. He ought to have considered, that the less 
of religion was to be found in his servants, the more 
reason he had to pray for them, and with them ; 
that he might perhaps be the occasion of good to 
them, and of bringing them to the knowledge and 
love of religion, which would be an advantage he 
ought to be thankful for, and think it a blessing to 
his house if it happened so. 

Niece. She did argue just so to him, madam: but 
he returned it so strong upon her, that she ought, 
as far as lay in her, to remove every difficulty that 
lay in the way of his duty ; that it was much more 
forcible as to her ; for he told her, that if she 
granted that the difficulty was a snare laid in his 
way by the Devil, she ought, at the same time that 
she told him it was his duty to resist it, to do all she 
could possible, or that lay in her power, to remove 
the occasion ; otherwise she made herself accessary 
to the temptation, and assistant to the Devil, in 
laying a snare for her husband, and much of the sin 
would lie at her door. 

Aunt. There was a great deal in that, I confess ; 
and I think she ought to have yielded immediately. 
Pray what did she say to it ? 

Niece. She insisted that the charge was false ; 
that her woman denied it, and, as I said before, 
that it was a malicious design of the other servants ; 
but in short, the business was, that she was very 
loath to part with her woman, who, as I said be- 
fore, was a very good servant, and useful to her 
divers ways. 

Aunt. But you said that he heard something of 
it himself. Surely she would believe him then. 

Niece. Why she could say nothing to that in- 
deed ; but she put it off as well as she could, with 
telling him she would tell her woman of it, and 
take care she should do so no more. 



294 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Aunt. That seemed to be trifling, because it was 
in a matter of such consequence, as ought not to be 
trifled with. 

Niece. It was so : but he went yet further ; he 
entreated her, he begged of her to take away a thing 
so irksome from him, and which was so much a 
hinderance to his duty: he told her, that had her 
servant been a mere ignorant, untaught creature, 
he should have had no difficulty upon him, but 
rather it would be an encouragement to do his 
duty, in hopes of being an instrument of opening 
her eyes : but for a mocker at religion, and one 
that not only despised religion itself, but mocked 
at others for it, this made the case differ exceed- 
ingly, and he knew not how to get over it. 

Aunt. And would not such arguments as those 
move her ? 

Niece. Truly, not so much as they should have 
done. 

Aunt. And pray what was the consequence of 
it? 

Niece. Truly, madam, the consequences were 
bad many ways : for, first, it kept the lady and 
her husband in very ill terms with one another for 
near two years : and, secondly, that unhappy crea- 
ture bantered all the other servants of the family 
out of the little religion they had, and indeed made 
them all like herself. 

Aunt. And where did it end ? 

Niece. Why, madam, besides this, it broke and 
put an end to all good order, and to the worship of 
God in the family ; I mean to all family worship. 

Aunt. What dreadful work was that ! What, 
and does it continue so still ? 

Niece. No, madam. Her husband, who is a very 
religious gentleman, could not content himself with 
living in that manner with his family, and not being 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



295 



able to prevail with his wife to part with her woman, 
he took so much upon him as to force her out of 
the house, that is to say, he put away the whole set 
of servants in the family, (for they were all made 
alike at last,) and took all new people at once. 

Aunt. And how did the lady take it ? 

Niece. Truly, madam, I cannot say she took it so 
well as I wish, for her sake, she had : for though 
her husband and she are very religious, sober, and 
good people, yet I cannot but say it has broken in 
very much upon their tempers and affection one to 
another, and there is not all the harmony between 
them that there used to be. 

Aunt. And all along of one graceless, irreligious 
servant. 

Niece. 'Tis very true, madam. 

Aunt. Besides, as you say, ruining the morals of 
the rest of the servants. 

Niece. Yes, madam. 

Aunt. Pray how did that appear among them ? 

Niece. Why, madam, in the first place, she made 
all religious things her jest ; turned all that was 
said to them at church, or in the family, that had 
anything serious in it, into banter and ridicule, and 
laughed them out of everything that looked like re- 
ligion. She represented religion to be a mere piece 
of state policy and priestcraft, contrived between 
the clergy and the statesmen, only to snbject the 
world to their management. The ministers and 
servants of Jesus Christ set apart for the altar, and 
whose business it is to preach salvation to a lost 
world, by a glorious but crucified Redeemer, she 
despised with the lowest or last degree of contempt, 
calling them mercenaries and tradesmen, the church 
their idol, and the pulpit their shop, where they 
sold what they called the word of God to who bid 
most ; and such-like horrid and blasphemous stuff. 



296 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



When the honest servants would have gone to 
church with their master and mistress, she would 
carry them away into the fields, or to make some 
visit or other, and continually turn them off from 
what was religious to something of levity and diver- 
sion, as a more suitable work for the Sabbath-day ; 
and still, when she had brought them to break in 
upon conscience, and to profane the Sabbath-day, 
she would fall foul of religion for laying the burden 
of rules upon the liberties of the world ; and all she 
did or said was with a great deal of wit, and, by way 
of sarcasm, as sharp and as clean as if she had been 
a philosopher, or a doctor in theology. 

Aunt. She was the more dangerous. 

Niece. She was so indeed, for she had a tongue 
of a siren ; 'twas neatly hung, but hellishly em- 
ployed, for she delighted in making everybody as 
bad as herself. 

Aunt. Your story is so very good, let me tell you 
another. 

Niece. I should be glad to hear it, madam. But 
if you please to put it off till by and by ; for I see 
your servant waits to speak with you. 

(She whispers her maid.) 

Aunt. She does so indeed ; 'tis to call us to 
dinner. Well, we will talk again of this part ; for 
I am very much of your opinion, niece, about taking 
no profane, irreligious servants, if you can help it. 

The end of the first dialogue. 



DIALOGUE II. 

In the evening, the lady and her niece taking a 
walk in the garden, had a further conversation upon 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



297 



the same subject, and the niece said to her aunt, 
which began the dialogue, Madam, when we left off 
our discourse in the morning, you were pleased to 
say, at the end of my story of an irreligious, profane 

wench, that my neighbour Mrs. had been 

troubled with, that you would tell me a story of an- 
other. 

Aunt. I did so, child ; it is of a family that lives 
at that house just over the way, in the back lane. 
(She points to a house that could be seen over the 
garden wall.) The people are dissenters ; the gentle- 
woman is a very sober, religious, good sort of a 
person, indeed ; and her husband is a very grave, 
religious man, also. They endeavour to take ser- 
vants of their own persuasion as much as they can ; 
but that is sometimes very difficult to do ; and she 
has indeed had very bad luck that way. However, 
this gentlewoman, as she told me herself, having 
occasion to hire a maid -servant, I forgot whether 
she was cook or chambermaid, or what else, for 
they kept three or four : but after she had agreed 
in everything else, she asked her maid (that was to 
be) what religion she was of. 

Madam, says the maid, blushing, (for she looked 
mighty sober,) that is a question I don't understand 
very well. 

Why says the mistress, I hope you are a protest- 
ant ? I don't mean whether you are a papist or no. 

Yes, madam, says the maid, I think I am a pro- 
testant. 

Nay, says the mistress, do you think so ? but 
then, I doubt, you don't think much about it. 

Not so much as I should do, madam, says the 
maid, and looked very simply and innocently at the 
discourse. 

Niece. Not expecting, it may be, to be asked such 
questions. 



298 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Aunt. No, I believe not ; for they are questions 
that I think none of us ask so much as we should do, 
when we hire servants. 

Niece. Servants value themselves so much now, 
that they would take it as out of the way to be asked 
about these things. 

Aunt. Well, if I have any servants, they shall all 
be asked such questions, and answer them too, or 
they shall be no servants to me. 

Niece. I am of the same mind, madam, if I can 
possibly find servants that will submit to it. 

Aunt. Child, if they won't submit before they are 
hired, to tell me what religion they are of, what 
are they like to submit to, after they are hired, 
about religion, or anything else ? 

Niece. Why really madam, I have had two or 
three that made a great deal of difficulty to do it, 
and thought it very much out of the way to have me 
ask them about it. 

Aunt. And did you take them after that ? 

Niece. Why truly, yes, I did take two of them. 

Aunt. And were they good for anything when 
you had them? 

Niece. Indeed they were good for very little, I 
must confess. 

Aunt. It may be possible indeed, that a wench 
may be a good servant, that is not a good Chris- 
tian ; but I must acknowledge it is but very 
seldom that it proves so ; but when a good servant 
is a good Christian too, such a one is ten times the 
more valuable for a servant, as well as for her 
religion. 

Niece. It is true, madam : but what shall we 
say, that some that are good Christians, are never- 
theless not good servants ; nay, there is a kind of a 
scandal upon those we call religious servants, that 
they are generally saucy, reserved, and value them- 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



299 



selves too much upon it, always making conditions 
with you, and claiming times and liberties on account 
of religious affairs, which are neither proper for the 
work of religion, and perhaps not employed so, when 
granted. 

Aunt. That brings me back to the story I was 
telling you, at least to one part of it. 

Niece. I am sorry I interrupted it then. Pray 
madam, go on with it. 

Aunt. I told you the gentlewoman my neighbour 
asked the wench about her religion, and how mo- 
destly she answered. However, her mistress put 
an end to that kind of discourse, and said, Look ye, 
sweetheart, I shall not catechise you too far ; the 
question is, whether you have been bred to the 
church or the meeting-house ? for I tell you before- 
hand, we are all dissenters, and go to the meeting. 

Niece. That was too open, she might have first 
heard what the maid said of herself. 

Aunt. No, no ; she was willing to let her know 
first, and see what answer she would give to it, not 
doubting, but that if she gave an answer not founded 
upon principle, she should find it out. 

Niece. Well, madam, perhaps she would be any- 
thing to get a good place. 

Aunt. As to that, she made herself judge of it 
from her answer, which was very honest indeed, 
though not to her mistress's satisfaction at all. 

Niece. Why madam, if it was honest, why should 
it not satisfy her mistress ? 

Aunt. 'Twas an answer which discovered the un- 
happy consequences of divided families, and shows 
much of the necessity of what we have had so many 
dialogues about, in the case of yourself and your 
sisters. 

Niece. What about husbands and wives being of 
the same opinion, madam ? 



300 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Aunt. Yes : she told her mistress that her father 
went to the meetings, and her mother went to the 
church. 

Niece. What was that to the question of what 
religion or opinion she was ? 

Aunt. Yes, my dear, she asked her what she was 
bred to, and it was a proper answer. 

Niece. That's true ; and so between both, I sup- 
pose she was bred to be indifferent to either. 

Aunt. No, my dear, 'twas worse than that ; and 
her mistress took it immediately ; for she turned 
pretty quick upon the wench ; And so, sweetheart, 
says she, I suppose you were bred between them, 
and go neither to one or t'other. 

Yes, madam, says the maid, sometimes I went to 
one, and sometimes to t'other. 

And sometimes to neither, says the mistress. 

My father and mother were poor people, madam, 
says she. 

Poor people ! says the mistress, what then, child ? 
They might have carried you to serve God with them, 
one where or other ; their poverty did not hinder that. 

That's true, madam, says the maid, but they 
could not agree about it. 

Niece. So, in short, the poor girl was left, between 
them, without any government or instruction ; I sup- 
pose that must be the case : a sad example of a fa- 
mily where the husband goes one way and the wife 
another. 

Aunt. Ay, so it was : however, she answered upon 
the whole, that she was very willing to go to the 
meeting, since her mistress desired it. 

Niece. That was to say, she was perfectly indif- 
ferent in the matter, and it would have been the 
same thing to her, if her mistress had been a church 
woman, or a Roman catholic, or a Jew, or anything 
or nothing. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



301 



Aunt But her mistress did not take it so ; but 
seemed satisfied, that she agreed to go to the meet- 
ing, and so took her into the house. 

Niece, And pray, madam, what came of it ? how 
did she prove ? 

Aunt Why just as a poor uneducated ignorant 
creature would prove. She went with them to the 
meeting, but pretended to the servants she did not 
like it, and she had rather go to church. So her 
mistress taking an opportunity of talking with her 
again one day, told her what she had heard in the 
house of her, and asked her if she had said that she 
did not like going to the meetings, but had rather 
go to church ; and she said that indeed she did 
say so, but she meant nothing of harm. 

Well, says her mistress, 1 never desire to offer 
violence to any servant's conscience ; if you had 
rather go to church, you shall go to church, though 
you know what you said to me, when I hired you, 
that you were very willing to go to the meeting. 

That was very true, she said, and she had not 
said otherwise now ; but she said only, that she had 
rather go to church: however, if she pleased, she 
would stay at home. 

No, no, says the mistress, I'll have no staying at 
home, I will have all my servants go to the public 
worship of God somewhere; staying at home may 
be as much mis-spending the Sabbath-day as going 
abroad for pleasure : therefore go to church, Betty, 
says her mistress, by all means ; I am not so much 
against going to church, as to think that they do not 
serve and worship God there ; by all means, if you 
do not care to go to the meeting, go to church : 'tis 
certainly your duty to go somewhere, and mine to 
oblige you to it. 

Niece, That was spoken like a woman of very 
good principles. 



302 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Aunt She is a very good sort of a person, I assure 
you, and generally governs herself upon good prin- 
ciples, principles of justice and of charity, which is a 
great part of religion. 

Niece. Well, pray what followed ? 

Aunt. Why she went to church, as she said ; but 
in a little while her mistress began to suspect her ; 
and once or twice she betrayed herself, and dis- 
covered among the servants that she had been 
rambling about, but had not been at church at all. 
Upon this suspicion her mistress told her one day 
very calmly, that she had some reason to suspect 
that her saying she had rather go to church than 
to the meeting, was not a sincere dislike of one, or 
approving of one more than of the other, but really 
a project of her own to have the liberty of spending 
the Sabbath-day nowhere, that is to say, in running 
about, as she had been suffered to do when she was 
at home with her father and mother. 

She replied, with some confidence, that indeed it 
was not so ; and began to be more positive about 
her having been at church than her mistress de- 
sired she should be, because she knew she told her 
what was false. However, she run on, told her mis- 
tress a lie or two, which she knew to be so, and in- 
sisted that she desired to go to church because she 
liked to serve God in that way better than the 
other: so her mistress let it pass for that time, 
and she went to church as usual, that is to say, 
went where she pleased, for some time. 

At last she was trapped accidentally, and could 
not get off any manner of way ; for going rambling 
for her pleasure with some of the neighbouring ser- 
vants, men and maids together, (for by this time 
she had got a gang like herself,) and going to cross 
the road about a mile from the town, a young citizen, 
that was spending the Sabbath-day on horseback, as 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



303 



she was spending it on foot, I mean in pleasure, 
coming just up at that minute, his horse started at 
something, I know not at what, and giving a spring 
forward, run against the poor wench, beat her down, 
aod threw him off a little further, and hurt him too, 
very much. 

Niece, And what became of the poor girl ? 

Aunt, Why, she was more frighted than anything 
else ; but she had a kick or bruise by the horse on 
her knee, or the horse trod on her knee, she could 
not tell which ; but by that means she was lamed, 
and could not get home till about eight o'clock at 
night, when her mistress, coming to the knowledge 
of it, sent the coach for her, and brought her home. 

Niece. Then there was a full discovery, indeed. 

Aunt. Ay, so there was ; for the neighbours' ser- 
vants, that were with her, owned where they had 
been, and with whom, and told honestly that they 
had been at a cake-house to be merry. 

Niece. It was no crime, perhaps, in the families 
where they lived. 

Aunt. No, none at all ; or at least no notice was 
taken of it, especially since they were only with 
neighbours, and, as they called it, were in no bad 
company. 

Niece. But what did she do with her maid ? 

Aunt. Why her maid was the same ; she was 
sorry for a while, and pretended she would never go 
abroad for pleasure again on a Sabbath-day : but 
that held but a little while, she was the same again 
a little while after : so her mistress resolved to part 
with her, for she two or three times enticed the 
other servants to go abroad with her, and still, when 
they had been missed, the answer was, they went 
to church with Betty ; and then if Betty was asked, 
she would lie very readily too, and say yes. At last 
this came out too, and Betty was called to an ac- 



304 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



count for it, and when she could deny it no longer, 
then she would own it, but promised to alter it, and 
do so no more. At length her mistress, who was 
in a little strait still, and loath to put any force upon 
the wench about going to the meeting, told her 
she could not bear these things, and gave her warn- 
ing. 

Niece. It was time to part with her, when she 
found she spoiled the rest of the servants. 

Aunt. Well ; but the wench, very loath to leave a 
good place, came to her mistress, and begged her to 
let her stay, and she would go to the meeting, and 
then she should be sure she did not ramble any more 
on the Sabbath-day. 

Niece. So that 'twas plain she would serve God 
any way for a good place ; and that was what I said 
of her as soon as I heard her first answer. 

Aunt. But her mistress acted upon another prin- 
ciple still, and she refused her ; No, says she, Betty, 
you declared in the house that you used to go to 
church, that you did not like the meetings, and that 
you had rather go to church ; now I will not have 
anybody forced from going to church to please me ; 
if you had been one that was bred to go to the 
meeting. 1 had been better pleased, because I have 
been so brought up myself ; but if you choose to go 
to church, because you like to serve God after that 
manner, better than in the way I go, God forbid I 
should put any force upon you : I doubt not but you 
may serve and worship God very acceptably either 
way ; but if you go to the meeting, which you do 
not like, 'tis only to keep your place, which you do 
like ; 'tis plain to me you will worship God nowhere, 
for you cannot be said to worship God in a way you 
do not like. 

Niece. She was too nice, I think, and talked to 
an ignorant wretch in language that she did not 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



305 



understand ; she might e'en ha' let her gone any- 
where, for 'twas plain she would serve God no- 
where. 

Aunt. Well, she acted on her own principles, 
however. 

Niece. But what did she do with the maid, then ? 

Aunt. Why she made her a new proposal : Look 
ye, Betty, says her mistress, if you will go to church 
honestly, and satisfy me that you do so, and that 
you do not, under a pretence of going to church, go 
abroad and spend your time idly, I shall be easy ; 
for this was all the reason why at first I asked you 
where you went, and told you I expected you should 
go with me ; not that I am against anybody's going 
to church, but because 1 desired they should serve 
God, and not ramble abroad. Betty promised 
heartily : Ay, but, says her mistress, how shall I be 
satisfied of the performance ? Betty stood hard to 
have her word to be taken for it ; but that would 
not do, because she had broke her promise before, 
and had told some lies too about the other servants 
going to church with her, as above. Well, Betty, 
says her mistress, I'll put you in a way to satisfy me 
effectually : you know the clerk of the parish lives 
just by, and in your way to the church ; his wife is 
a very sober, good woman, and I know never fails of 
going to church, if she be well ; now if you will go 
every Sunday with her, I'll answer for it that if 
you are not there she will be true to me, and so 
kind to you as to tell me of it, and this shall satisfy 
me. 

Niece. If the clerk's wife was so faithful to be 
trusted, it was right ; but that was a doubtful thing, 
for she would be loath, I reckon, to ruin the poor 
wench for failing now and then. 

Aunt. Well, the short of the story was this : 
r. c. x 



306 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Betty was Betty still ; an ill habit and want of prin- 
ciple led her away ; she seldom came to church, 
and the clerk's wife would lie for her ; and so at 
last her mistress turned her away. And thus I 
think all servants, men and maids, should be served, 
would the masters and mistresses do their duty ; 
and if this was universally practised, servants would 
serve God, and their mistresses too, better than 
they do* 

Niece. They would so indeed, and for want of it, 
they serve neither God nor their mistresses. 'Tis 
a want of a religious regard to the well-ordering of 
servants that makes them as they are. 

Aunt. Well, but I have another story to tell you, 
of the same gentlewoman ; for after this she took a 
servant that she thought must necessarily be reli- 
gious ; for she was bred to the meetings from her 
infancy ; but it seems she was not of the same sort 
as her mistress ; but she told her where she used to 
go, and capitulated for liberty to go to the same 
meeting still. This her mistress readily consented 
to, not doubting but that one that was under such 
obligations, would certainly be careful to do her 
duty ; and when she mentioned to the maid that she 
was very ready to yield to her going where she said 
she went, that she only desired to be satisfied that 
her servants did really go where they said they went, 
the maid seemed a little surprised that she should 
be thought capable of so wicked a thing as that, and 
so stopped her mistress's mouth with her character. 

Niece. Well, madam, then I hope she had one to 
her mind. 

Aunt. At the same time her husband had a man- 
servant, who was a very religious, devout fellow, and 
he was a churchman. He truly conditioned, that 
he would be at liberty to go to church, which upon 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



307 



their being satisfied that he was really a well- 
meaning, sober, and serious fellow, they easily con- 
sented to. 

Niece. I thought you said they insisted on their 
servants going to worship God where they did. 

Aunt. I told you they desired it, but that it was 
chiefly that they might be sure to have orderly ser- 
vants, and that they did observe the Lord's-day, and 
worshipped God in some place or other, not mis- 
spending the Sabbath ; otherwise they were persons 
of a large charity, and of a true Christian temper to 
those from whom they differed. 

Niece. Well, but to return to their servants, how 
did they prove ? 

Aunt. Only the worst that ever were heard of. 

Niece. What ! both of them ? 

Aunt. Ay, ay, both of them. The wench was 
saucy, rigid, censorious ; took upon her to find fault 
that her master and mistress, who were cheerful and 
good-tempered people, were not serious enough ; 
she would not come into their family worship, be- 
cause she said, 'tis sorrily performed, and she did 
not like it; when her mistress entertained any 
friends, she did not like it, 'twas wicked, and it was 
loose and extravagant, and had too much luxury in 
it, and the like. 

Niece. She should have been mistress, and not 
maid. 

Aunt. Her mistress told her so indeed, one day, 
when overhearing some of her talk by accident, she 
called her to her, and speaking something angrily to 
her, Jane, says she, answer me one question: what 
did I hire you for? Jane was a little surprised at 
first, not understanding the question, and said no- 
thing, till her mistress repeated the question by 
way of explanation thus, Jane, pray did I hire you 
to do my work and to be my servant ? 

x2 



308 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Yes, madam, says Jane. 

Well then, says her mistress, pray do your busi- 
ness, and behave like a servant, as becomes you, or 
remove, and provide yourself ; and when I want a 
schoolmistress to teach me how to behave in my 
family, I'll send for you. 

Niece. That was right; that was acting like a 
mistress ; pray what said Jane to it? 

Aunt. She was confounded, and struck dumb at 
first, but her mistress explained it to her afterwards. 

Niece. But pray what was she for a servant ? 

Aunt. O ! a most extraordinary accomplished 
slattern, and a surly, heavy, unmannerly creature, 
that looked always as if she thought herself fitter to 
be mistress, than her that was so ; did everything 
with reluctance, awkward and disrespectful, and yet 
wilful, and above being taught, dull to the last de- 
gree, but scorned reproof. 

Niece. Certainly she had more of the pretence to 
religion than of the reality ; for Christianity teaches 
us to fill up every relative duty with equal exactness 
and with a suitable diligence and application. 

Aunt. Why, to bring my story to a point, she had 
the outside of religion only ; whether she took it 
up with a design to deceive, or whether she deceived 
herself, and fell from what she at first professed, I 
know not ; but she fell quite off from religion itself 
at last ; and adding to that some follies, which I 
choose to say nothing of, my good neighbour turned 
her off, and got rid of her. 

Niece. There she was cheated in her own way. 

Aunt. She was so, and I told her of it ; but she 
answered me with a sajdng which I have often made 
use of before, and that with relation to myself ; I 
am never, said she, in so much danger to be cheated, 
as when people pretend to be religious ; for then I 
think they dare not do such things as I am afraid of. 



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309 



{Here the second sister came into the room, and 
finding what discourse they were engaged in, after 
her respects paid to her aunt, and to her sister, she 
desired they would go on ivith their discourse, for 
that she knew the subject, and it was what she came 
on purpose to have a share in.) 

Aunt. I was telling your sister how a lady of my 
acquaintance was cheated with two religious ser- 
vants. 

Sec. Niece. I heard the last part ; and she was a 
nice one indeed. 

Aunt. O ! I have not told you half of her behavi- 
our 

Sec. Niece. Well, but madam, how did it fare 
with the man-servant ; how did he behave ? 

Aunt. Why every jot as ill another way : when 
he should be at hand to be called, and when his 
master wanted him on any occasion, he was gone to 
church to prayers ; and when prayers were done, he 
would often fall in as he came home, at a certain 
alehouse that unhappily stood in the way home, and 
I think, once or twice came home drunk. 

Sec. Niece. Fine things indeed for a conscientious 
wretch ! these were religious servants it seems. 

Aunt. Hold, niece! religion, no, nor any profes- 
sion or opinion in religion is not altered one way or 
other, by the mistakes and miscarriages of those that 
make a profession of it. The eleven blessed apos- 
tles were not at all the worse, or is the memory of 
them to be the less reverenced, for the twelfth being 
a devil ; nor must we expect that all our servants 
shall be saints, when they are what we call religi- 
ous ; all people have failings, religion does not 
always change natural tempers. 

Sec. Niece. But we should expect they should be 
Christians and servants too. Religion never takes 
away good manners, or privileges servants from pb- 



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serving the due space which nature has put between 
the person to be served, and the person serving. 

Fir. Niece. The great thing I insist upon taking 
religious servants for, is, that they may be examples 
in a family, of sobriety, quiet submission, diligence 
and seriousness, to their fellow-servants ; that they 
be encouragers, not hinderers of God's worship in 
the house ; that the whole family may cheerfully 
unite in serving God, and in all religious rules and 
orders ; that if an ignorant and untaught creature 
is taken into the house, they may be instructed and 
led by the hand into the proper duties of a Christian ; 
that all the house may be a class of Christians, doing 
their duty in their respective places, both from a 
principle of justice and of charity. 

Aunt. But 'tis very rare, niece, to find what you 
speak of. 

Fir. Niece. It is so, madam : but then, since it is 
not probable we should always find such, all that I 
insist on in the mean time is, that we should take 
care, as near as possible, to take those that are well 
inclined, and well educated: not enemies to all re- 
ligion, not such as make a mock of worshipping their 
Maker, or observing his rules ; such I would not 
entertain at all, on any account whatsoever ; they 
would be a continual offence in a sober family. 

Sec. Niece. But there are some that may be in 
the middle way, no enemies to religion, not mockers 
at all sober things, and yet not much stored with 
serious thoughts, not void of principle, nor void of 
modesty. 

Aunt. Why, it is true, there are some such, and 
I know not what to say to such ; I would rather 
have them than the other. 

Fir. Niece. I like those but a little better, I would 
have neither of them if I could help it. 

Aunt. It is true that they always discover a 



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311 



coldness and backwardness to every good thing, 
and secretly despise the most serious things as well 
as the other: but good manners restrains them a 
little from insulting the family. I do not like such, 
I confess. 

Sec. Niece. But they may be better borne with, 
madam, than the first sort. 

Aunt. Well, but your sister here is so far from 
approving that sort, that even if they were seriously 
religious, she would not entertain them, if they 
were of a different opinion; she is of the same 
notion with my cook-maid, that I told you the story 
of, that all differing opinions in religion, will, in 
such creatures as these, despise and contemn those 
that differ from them, and either hate or make 
a jest of one another. 

Sec. Niece. My sister, it may be, is grown rigid 
that way, from the disaster of the family with re- 
spect to her husband and herself ; but in carrying 
it so far, then, she will make it almost impossible 
to have any servants at all, but such as we bring up 
ourselves. 

Fir. Niece. It is no matter for that ; I am positive 
in it, with respect to a family's peace, and the har- 
mony of religious worship in any family, it is all 
destroyed and lost by these little difficulties : as 
long as there are servants to be had, and I could 
pay wages, I would change five hundred servants, 
till I found one to my purpose ; nor should any fit- 
ness for my business, or any goodness of humour in 
a servant, prevail with me to keep her, if she 
wanted the main article of religion, and the same 
opinion of religion too with my own. 

Aunt. I am afraid, child, you would change 
five hundred indeed then, before you would be 
fitted. 

Fir. Niece. Why, madam, I hope I am not of 



312 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



such strange principles and opinions, that nobody 
can be found of those opinions but me. 

Aunt. No, my dear ; but servants have rarely 
any notions of those things, or enter far into them. 

Fir. Niece. Well, madam, I would venture it, for 
I would no more entertain those who differed from 
my opinion in religion, than I would entertain those 
that had none at all ; for the difference in opinion 
in servants, has more mischiefs in it sometimes, 
than the other. 

Aunt. I grant it would be very well to have ser- 
vants of the same opinion in religion with ourselves, 
but it cannot be always so ; the first and main 
point that I have made my rule, has been, to have 
servants that are religiously inclined in general, 
and that are willing to be instructed ; these, having 
a modest sober behaviour in the main, are more 
easily brought to comply with religious things in the 
family, whether they are the same way that they 
were first inclined to, or not; such as these are 
often brought, by good examples in the house, to be 
of the same opinion with ourselves. 

Sec. Niece. Such are, indeed, a great tie upon 
masters and mistresses of families to take care that 
we recommend the profession we make of religion 
by a good example ; for servants are not likely to 
turn to our opinion, or embrace with us the part 
which we take in religion, when they see us not 
practising the things we pretend to teach, and not 
winning them to our opinion by a conversation be- 
coming religion. 

Aunt. It is very true, niece, and would masters 
and mistresses keep upon their minds a sense of 
what influence their conduct may have upon their 
servants ; how they may be the means of bringing 
them to a serious embracing of religion, or to a 
greater levity and indifference, than it may be they 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



313 



had before, as they see a good or ill example in 
those they serve, we should have much better mas- 
ters and mistresses than we have, and more reli- 
gious servants too. 

Fir. Niece. That's very true, and it were to be 
wished it were well observed. But since it is not 
always so, I cannot reconcile it to common reason- 
ing, that we should take servants of any principles 
or opinion of religion, but such as we profess our- 
selves. 

Aunt. If it can be avoided. 

Fir. Niece. Certainly, it may be avoided if we 
will. 

Sec. Niece. You would except such as, being ig- 
norant and untaught, profess themselves willing to 
come into religious families that they may be guided 
into good things by teaching and example. 

Fir. Niece. Yes, I do except such ; for such are 
to be moulded this way or that, as Providence casts 
them into religious or irreligious families. 

Aunt. We agree in that part exactly ; and in- 
deed, were I to choose, I would rather take a ser- 
vant who, being ignorant in religious matters, was 
yet sober, and willing to be instructed : I say, much 
rather than take one fixed in his or her religious 
opinion, and that opinion differing from my own. 

Fir. Niece. Indeed, madam, I am positive in that 
point ; I cannot go from it ; I would not take one 
that differed from me in opinion in religion by any 
means ; no, upon no account at all ; it is attended 
with nothing but confusion in the family : I would 
almost as soon take a loose profane wench, that 
owned no religion at all : I have seen so much of it, 
and found such inconveniences in having religious 
quarrels and differences in the family by it, that I 
think 'tis unsufferable : I told you the story of our 
poor negro, that would turn Christian : we had one 



314 



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servant a papist, and he would have the boy a Ro- 
man catholic ; another would have him be a Church 
of England protestant ; and another would have had 
him been a presbyterian : 'twas a reproach even to 
the name of Christian, to hear how one told him he 
would be damned if he was this ; another told 
him he would be damned if he was that ; and the 
other told him he would be damned if he was 
either of them, and so of the rest ; so that the poor 
boy was almost distracted among them, as I told 
you at large before. 

Aunt. Without entering into examples, I grant 
'tis very pernicious, and a great obstruction to 
family religion, and that many ways. 

Sec. Niece. Were there a spirit of peace and 
charity always to be found, where there was an out- 
ward appearance of religion, it would be quite 
otherwise; but that is not our case in this age. 
You see, madam, what was the case in your neigh- 
bour's family, where the religious servants, I mean 
appearingly religious, were the worst servants, and 
the worst Christians, they could have met with. 

Aunt. I did not bring those examples to lessen 
the value of good, serious, religious servants; but 
to hint to you the danger there is (among those 
that call themselves such) to find hypocrites, and 
also to note, that religion does not always make a 
good servant. 

Sec. Niece. It ought to do so, and would do so, if 
the rules of Christianity were faithfully observed. 

Aunt. But it is not always so, and therefore, as I 
say, I would not take a servant that was not reli- 
gious, or religiously inclined ; so I do not say, that 
I would not for the sake of their being serious and 
religiously inclined, take a bad servant; for reli- 
gion does not always qualify a servant. 

Sec. Niece. No, madam, religion does not make 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



315 



them good-humoured, cleanty, active, diligent and 
mannerly, and the like ; it will make them faithful 
and honest, that is inseparable, but there is many a 
good Christian that makes a bad servant. 

Aunt. But I know some of them expect we should 
bear with all the rest, for what they call religious. 

Fir. Niece. And perhaps are not so at bottom 
neither. 

Aunt. Nay, that sort of them are generally other- 
wise, and put on an appearance of religion only to 
disguise themselves the more dexterously, and these 
are the religious servants that I am aptest to be de- 
ceived by ; but there are some of the other too. 

Sec. Niece. 'Tis one of the worst parts of a hypo- 
crite, I think, when they study to cover a vicious 
life with the mask of religion. 

Aunt. But I think too, that it is soonest dis- 
covered. 

Sec. Niece. It may indeed be sooner discovered 
than other disguises, because the levity is apt to 
break out at proper intervals, in spite of the utmost 
caution : but the mischief is often done first, when 
the discovery is too late to prevent it ; and there- 
fore, upon the whole, there is a great risk in taking 
servants, that we are not very well assured of, one 
way or other. 

Fir. Niece. But I hope you do not argue for 
being indifferent in the case. 

Sec. Niece. No, no, very far from it ; but I own, 
'tis a critical case. 

Fir. Niece. Let it be as critical as it will, 'tis ab- 
solutely necessary to be taken care of, if we will 
have religious servants. 'Tis a sad thing to have 
the master and mistress praying in one part of the 
house, and the men and maids swearing or railing, 
or laughing or jeering, in another part of it. Next 



316 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



to having the master and mistress religious, it is 
essential to a religious family, to have the servants 
religious too. 

Sec. Niece. If it be possible to find such. 

Fir. Niece. They must be found religious, or -toe 
made so. 

Sec. Niece. 'Tis but coarse work to new-mould a 
servant : as you find them, you have them, gene- 
rally. Most of the servants of this age are uncapa- 
ble enough to be meddled with. I mean as to in- 
struction. 

Aunt. I cannot say so : I am thankful that I can 
say that I have had a loose, wicked, irreligious 
servant or two, who, by taking some pains with 
them, have been brought to be very serious and 
very religious. 

Sec. Niece. Then they have thanked God for 
your bettering them by your instruction. 

Aunt. So they have, I assure you, niece. 

Fir. Niece. But they were originally of a docible, 
tractable temper, then, which is very rare among 
servants. But, madam, allow you could take that 
task upon you, and your application had success, 
you would not expect that every mistress like you, 
should set up for an instructor of their servants. 

Aunt. No, no ; but it is not so hopeless a thing, 
however, as you may imagine : for if a girl has any 
modesty, she cannot but listen a little to the in- 
struction of those that wish her so well, and that 
have so little obligation upon them to do it. 

Fir. Niece. Why, madam, an untaught wench, 
that is modest and willing to be instructed, I take, 
as I said before, to be among the number that are 
fit to be taken : the very example of a religious 
family will make her religious also. 

Aunt. My dear, you touch us all there, and that 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



317 



upon a nice point too ; it must be confessed that it 
is because there are so few religious families, that 
there are so few religious servants. 

Fir. Niece, That is true, madam ; but on the 
other hand, loose, profane, irreligious servants, are 
a great hinderance to the setting up religious 
families. Those I am utterly against. 

Aunt. And that is the reason, child, that I say 
they should not be taken into our families. 

Fir. Niece. And should be turned out again as 
soon as discovered, and that without any certificate 
given them of their good behaviour, or without 
giving them what we call a good character. 

Aunt. We cannot deny them a certificate, child, 
when they have not wronged or robbed us, the law 
requires that of us. 

Fir. Niece. But then, madam, the certificate 
should mention that I dismiss such a man, or such 
a maid, for being a profane, irreligious person, or 
for breaking the Sabbath-day, or for not going to 
church, when ordered to go there, or for going 
abroad to be merry, when they should have been at 
church, and such like, as the case may happen to 
be. 

Aunt. I own there is a great deal of reason to do 
so ; but we are apt to think it hard to do so, and 
that it is taking a poor servant's livelihood from 
them. 

Fir. Niece. But we should consider too, how 
much harder it is to push a profligate wretch into a 
sober family, under the recommendation of a false 
character. We cannot say we do justice to our 
neighbour, or to do as we would be done by : for 
still I go back to what we both said before, that ir- 
religious servants are a great hinderance to masters 
and mistresses in setting up religious rules and 
exercises in their families. 



318 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Aunt. Ay, and a great discouragement in carry- 
ing them on, when they are set up ; and for both 
those reasons, I would advise all my friends to take 
no servants that had not some sense of religion 
upon them. 

Sec. Niece. I join heartily with my sister in her 
opinion, if such servants can be had ; but what 
then must be done when we get irreligious and 
profane creatures into our houses and cannot help 
it ; or find them so, when we expected the con- 
trary ? 

Aunt. No ! my dear ! the case is plain ; we must 
not let servants laugh us out of our religion : we 
must go on in the way of our duty, and set up the 
worship of God in the house ; and as often as we 
find the servants flout at it, or contemn it, return 
the contempt upon themselves, and turn them out, 
but go on to perform the duty : turn them all away 
that pretend to behave irreverently, or pretend to 
mock or scoff at it ; I say, turn them all away, and 
let it be the standing known rule in the family, that 
all the servants that come may hear of it as soon 
as they converse in the house ; then they will know 
what they have to trust to, and will behave ac- 
cordingly. "Tis omitting our duty in our families, 
not our performing it, that makes servants mock. 
When they see us religious to-day, and wicked 
to-morrow, they may well scoff ; but where serious 
religion is steadily maintained in a family, it com- 
mands that awe and reverence of servants, that they 
grow religious of course. Thus one good family 
breeds good servants for another, and the good ex- 
amples of a sober family, make the servants all 
sober. 

Sec. Niece. I acknowledge all that : but I have 
not practised that part indeed, of turning them 
away for their irreligious profane carriage when 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



319 



discovered. I have endeavoured to get religious 
servants ; but when T have found them otherwise, I 
have not turned them off, which indeed I should 
have done. 

Aunt. So far you are wrong, my dear ; for why 
not put away a coachman or chambermaid as well 
for being wicked as idle, for being an offender 
against Heaven, as well as for being an offender 
against ourselves ? I think the reasoning is every 
way as good. 

Sec. Niece. It may hold in many cases. 

Aunt. Indeed, niece, I think it will hold in all 
cases ; and I can give you some instances, where 
servants knowing it before, have behaved much the 
better on that account : but 'tis late now, we will 
talk of that part another time. 

The end of the second dialogue. 



DIALOGUE III. 

A few days after this lady and her two nieces had 
discoursed this point about servants, the aunt and 
both her nieces, that is to say, the eldest of the sis- 
ters and the widow, had another dialogue upon the 
subject of giving a character to servants, and the 
justice that was to be done in it on one side and on 
the other* on the following occasion. 

The eldest sister had taken a very scoundrel idle 
jade of a servant, and that too after having received 
a very good character of her from a gentlewoman 
with whom she had lived before ; and she complained 
heavily of the injustice of it, and that she had been 
abused by the said gentlewoman, and was telling 



320 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



her tale to her aunt, which introduced the following 
dialogue. 

Aunt. I find, child, you lay all the fault of your 
being disappointed upon the wench's former mis- 
tress ; you don't seem to say the maid herself has 
deceived you. 

Fir. Niece. Indeed, madam, I am deceived both 
ways ; but I blame the maid's former mistress 
most. 

Aunt. Why so ? Did not the maid pretend to be 
otherwise than you find her ? 

Fir. Niece. Yes, madam, that is true ; but I did 
not expect so much from a maid, when she came to 
be hired ; I did not expect she would tell her own 
faults. 

Aunt. Well, but on the other hand, you did not 
expect she should tell you she was able to do what 
she did not understand, or should undertake what 
she was no ways qualified to perform. 

Fir. Niece. No, that's true, madam : but she was 
willing to get into a good place. 

Aunt. And to do it, she must be allowed to in- 
troduce herself by a parcel of lies and shams, and 
pretend to be what she has no pretence to ; I think 
that as bad as any of the rest. 

Sec. Niece. I join with my aunt in that part. I 
think the law should have provided some punish- 
ment for servants that give themselves characters 
they do not deserve, as well as for other pieces of 
dishonesty ; for, in short, it is a downright fraud, a 
cheat, and a piece of dishonesty intolerable. For 
example, a cook comes and hires herself to me, to 
serve as such ; and when she has undertaken the 
business, it appears she understands nothing of 
cookery, and has never been anything but a middle 
maid, to wash and scrub the rooms, and the like : 
or a chambermaid offers herself, and tells me she 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



321 



knows how to make mantuas, cut hair, clear-starch, 
and the like ; and when it comes to the trial, 
acknowledges she does not understand any of them, 
or only this, and not that, as it happens. Why 
should not this maid be punished, as well as she 
that, pretending to be honest, proves a thief? 

Aunt, No, child; she does deserve to be ill used : 
but the case differs as to a thief ; for she is punishe 
not for pretending honesty, and deceiving me in th 
character, but for her actual theft and robbing me 
of my goods. 

Sec. Niece. Well, madam, then the punishment 
should differ too. I do not say she should be hanged, 
but I think she should be punished, however, some 
way or other. 

Fir. Niece. We have ways to punish such a ser- 
vant, and all servants too, if all mistresses would be 
just to themselves, and to one another. We might 
make up the deficiency of the law in that case to 
ourselves very easily, and the want of doing our- 
selves justice is the thing I complain of. 

Aunt. How would you make it up ? 

Fir. Niece. Why, madam, whenever any such 
servant came to me, I would be sure to turn her 
away again, with all the resentment that her beha- 
viour required ; and when she sent any future 
mistress to me for a character, I would do her 
justice. 

Sec. Niece. You should say, sister, that you would 
do the gentlewoman justice, who came to inquire of 
you about her. 

Aunt, Why truly, you put it right there, niece. 

Sec. Niece. Indeed, madam, that is the foundation 
of all the grievances we are under about servants, 
that we make no conscience of doing one another 
justice, when we make inquiries after the character 
of another's servant. 

R. C. Y 



322 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Fir. Niece. Why we are loath to hinder poor 
servants ; for to take away their characters, is to 
take away their bread. 

Sec. Niece. We may say the same of a thief or a 
housebreaker, when we find them in our houses or 
gardens, and take them even in the very fact : we 
are loath to ruin them for it ; that it was necessity 
forced them to do what they did ; and if we have 
them committed, they will be hanged or transported : 
nay, the argument is stronger, because the injury 
done may have been trifling, and the punishment 
there is loss of life, which we may be loath to be 
concerned in. 

Fir. Niece. You carry the case a great deal too 
high, sister ; I cannot think they are alike. 

Sec. Niece. Truly, sister, I think 'tis much the 
same ; but of the two, I take, here is the greater ob- 
ligation. 

Aunt. I believe I take your notion right, niece ; 
the obligation is this : if I take the thief, and give 
him up to the law, he is undone, and his life must 
pay for it ; and 'tis a sad thing for me to let a poor 
fellow be put to death, or transported, for robbing 
me of a trifle. But, on the other hand, I am to 
consider, (1.) I am obliged by the law to do it; 
that it is not I that put him to death, but the laws 
of his country, and his own crime is the cause of it ; 
and I am an offender against that very law, and in 
some sense, a confederate with him, at least an en- 
courager of him in his crime, if I omit it : but 
which is more than that, (2.) By my perhaps unsea- 
sonable, and indeed unjust compassion, I become 
accessary to all the robberies he shall be guilty of 
after it ; because if I had done as the law directed 
me, I had put him out of a condition to rob or in- 
jure any other person. 

Sec. Niece. You have fully explained my mean- 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



323 



ing, madam, and I take the case to be the same ; I 
by no means do as I ought, or as the law directs, if 
when my neighbour taking a servant after me, and 
coming to me for a character of her, I decline 
speaking the truth of her, ay, and the whole truth 
too. 

Fir. Niece. Then no servant would get a place, 
as servants are now. 

Aunt. Then, niece, they would be more humble, 
and careful how they behave. 

Fir. Niece. It is a nice case, and we ought to 
take a great care then, that we do not injure them. 

Sec. Niece. That's true ; we ought to do them no 
wrong ; but we do the person that is to take them 
an irreparable wrong, if we recommend an ill servant 
to them. 

Aunt. Nay, we break another law, that you have 
not thought of yet ; for we do not do in it as we 
would be done by, which is the great Christian 
rule. 

Sec. Niece. Not only so, madam, but we do as 
we would not be done by : for would any of us, if we 
go to inquire of a servant, be told she was honest, 
when she was a thief? That she was neat, when 
she was nasty ; tight, when she was a slattern ; dili- 
gent, when she was idle ; quiet, when she was saucy; 
and modest, when she was, it may be, a bold hussy? 
and the like. 

Aunt. 1 observe, indeed, there is a general back- 
wardness in people whenever we go to inquire 
about a servant. A mistress cannot be said to re- 
commend earnestly, because it is to be granted 
that she parted with the servant for something or 
other. But she is therefore, on the other hand, shy 
and backward, and will say nothing, or but little, of 
the real character of the servant, because, forsooth, 
she would not hinder her a place ; and indeed I 

y 2 



324 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



would be very loath myself to ruin a poor girl, be- 
cause I did not like her ; but I do think, as you say, 
niece, we mistresses are too backward to be free 
with one another in such cases. 

Sec. Niece. It would not only answer the end, 
madam, as to the law part ; but it would bring ser- 
vants back to be servants again, as they used to be, 
and as they ought to be ; for really they can hardly 
be called servants now. 

Fir. Niece. I wish it was with us, in case of our 
maids, as it is with the gentlemen in the case of 
their men-servants, viz., that we should be obliged 
to give certificates to our maids when they went 
away. 

Sec. Niece. Why even then the case would be the 
same ; for if the form of the certificate was not set- 
tled too by the act of parliament, we should sign 
anything they desired us. 

Fir. Niece. Nay, sister, that would be our 
faults. 

Aunt. Why so it is our faults now, child, if we 
give them wrong characters. 

Fir. Niece. I do not say we should give wrong 
characters ; but I should be loath to say the utmost 
of a poor servant, and so prejudice everybody 
against her : perhaps what she did amiss with 
me, she might mend with another, and perhaps 
what might not please me, another might bear 
with. 

Sec. Niece. I will put an end to all that immedi- 
ately, sister : I do not mean that I should enter into 
a long accusation of a servant, and give the history 
of her life, or that I would blast her for trifles, or 
give her an ill name for not suiting exactly to my 
temper : but I speak in capital, essential articles, 
such as denominate a wench a good or bad servant; 
and I'll tell you a case, when I went to a lady my- 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



325 



self to inquire about a chambermaid who had been 
sent to me by another person. 

Aunt. But what was the person that sent or re- 
commended her ? did she know her ? 

Sec. Niece. She was an honest, well-meaning, 
poor woman, that used to help me to maids when I 
wanted. 

Aunt. But then, I suppose, did not know much of 
her own knowledge. 

Sec. Niece. No, madam, but the maid gave me an 
account where she had lived last, and I went to the 
lady, and told her I came to inquire of such a maid- 
servant, who, as she had said, had lived with her. 
Yes, she told me, she had lived with her. 

Pray how long did she live with you, madam? 
said I. 

Pray, madam, how long does she say she lived 
with me ? says she. 

Almost a year, madam, says I ; I think it wanted 
but a month, or thereabouts : at which she made a 
kind of a hum, and said nothing for awhile. 

Now I did not like the way of answering my ques- 
tion with a question ; for I thought she might have 
told me positively how long the maid had lived with 
her, and left me to judge whether she had spoken 
truth ; whereas by returning the question upon me, 
she kept it in her own breast to accuse or excuse 
her : so I turned it short upon her ; I hope, madam, 
says I, you will be so plain with me as to let me 
know whether she says true or not. 

Yes, yes, madam, says she. 

This surprised me again ; for this had a double 
meaning, as plain as could be, and it was impossible 
to know whether she meant, yes, that it was as the 
maid had said, or, yes, that she would let me know 
whether the maid had said true or not. So I 
stopped awhile, to give her time to go on, and ex- 



326 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



plain herself ; but finding she did not, I repeated 
my question : Pray, madam, says T, be pleased to let 
me know exactly how long she lived with you. 

Why, madam, says she, not quite a year : the 
maid says true in that. 

I was far from being satisfied with that kind of 
answer ; the manner of drawing out her words 
showing me plainly that the wench had lied. How- 
ever, lest I should quarrel with her too soon, and so 
have no more out of her, I dropped it, and asked 
her some other questions. 

Pray, madam, says I, is she a good work- 
woman ? 

Yes, yes, says she, she does her work well 
enough. 

This was all equivocation again. Anybody would 
have understood by my question, that I inquired if 
she was good at her needle ; but she would not take 
it as I meant it, and put it off with an answer that 
might be true, if the wench knew how to make a 
bed, or sweep a room ; so I explained myself, and 
said, Madam, by a good workwoman I mean at her 
needle, I hope you understand me. 

Truly, madam, says she, I think she is well 
enough ; I never put her to much of that kind, 
having other hands in the house. 

Well, there she came better off with me a little 
than before, but still all this gave me no character 
of the maid ; so I went on. 

Pray, madam, says I, what do you say to her 
honesty ? she is honest, I hope. 

I have no reason to tax her honesty, says she ; 
she never wronged me of anything, that I know of : 
I charge her with nothing. 

Even this was but a very indifferent way of vouch- 
ing for a girl's honesty, and if she was really honest, 
she was not just to her. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



327 



Well, madam, says I, may I ask you what was the 
occasion of your parting with her ? 

O, madam, says she, we parted indeed ; she and 
I could not agree : I am passionate, and pretty trou- 
blesome, and my maid and I could not hit it ; but 
she may do very well with another. Perhaps other 
mistresses may not be so troublesome and difficult 
as I am ; she may do very well ; I assure you she 
knows how to please anybody but me ; she told me 
so herself. 

I was, indeed, provoked now, and answered, 
Madam, you are pleased to give yourself some hard 
words ; but I beg you will allow me to say, I did 
not come for a character of the maid's mistress, but 
a character of the maid ; and, I doubt, by your dis- 
course, you are willing to recommend your maid's 
character at the expense of your own. 

She only smiled at me when I said thus, and said 
again she was very difficult and ill to please ; but 
Betty might do very well with another. 

I pressed her again to let me know what she 
parted with her maid for ; but still she shuffled me 
off, and gave me the cunningest evasive answers. 
Betty herself could not have put me off with half 
the dexterity as her mistress did ; so I made my 
honours as if I was going away. 

Madam, says I, you are exceeding tender of your 
maid ; but I cannot say you are equally just to a 
stranger, that you see resolved to depend upon your 
word for the character of a servant. However, I 
shall take it the way I hope you intend it, namely, 
that though it may be for the girl's advantage not to 
have the particulars of her behaviour told, yet you 
would have me understand by it that her conduct 
will not bear a character, and that you would not 
have me venture upon her ; and I shall take your ad- 
vice. 



328 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



At this she seemed concerned, as if she had ex- 
pected that her awkward way of talking of the 
wench had satisfied me, and that I did not under- 
stand her ; and as I offered to go, Pray, madam, 
says she, don't say so ; Betty may make you a very 
good servant ; I am sorry you should take me so : 
the maid may do well in another place, though she 
might not suit me. 

As I was talking, I observed that in the drawing- 
room to the room we sat in, there sat a gentleman 
reading in a great book, and every now and then he 
looked off his book, when his wife (for it was her 
husband) spoke, as if he was surprised at what she 
said ; and as the folding-doors stood wide open, so 
that the rooms were, as it were, let both into one, 
he heard all we said, and I perceived that, as he 
looked off his book when his wife spoke, so he almost 
laughed outright when I spoke. 

At last, as if he was not able to hold any longer, 
he clapped up the book pretty hard, and threw it by, 
and came forward into the room we were in, and 
making me a very low bow as he passed, he offered 
to go out ; when his lady stepped up to him, and 
said something softly, which he answered softly, 
and with abundance of good humour in his face, 
said to his wife, My dear, I will not interrupt you ; 
upon which I offered to go away. By no means, 
madam, said he, my business is of no moment. So 
taking hold of his wife's hand, he as it were turned 
her towards me, and at going away, My dear, says 
he, don't hold the lady in suspense about your maid, 
for I hear that is the business : let her have a true 
character of her ; you would be glad to be dealt 
plainly with yourself. His wife smiled, but said 
nothing at first, but presently turned to him, and 
all in a pleasant good humour she gave him a little 
tap on the arm with her hand : Do you give a cha- 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



329 



racter of her, if you think I ha'n't done it well. 
Must I ? says he : Why then, madam, says he to 
me, with my wife's leave, she is a damned jade, a 
horrid scold, a liar ; and though she has, I believe, 
stolen nothing from us, was a thief in the place she 
came last from, which we heard of since, and for 
that very thing my wife turned her away. 

I made him a curtsy, and told him I was greatly 
obliged to him for so much sincerity, and found his 
lady had been only tender of her maid's character, 
but had not at all recommended her. Why, 
madam, says he, my wife was cheated in this 
wench, only by the people she lived with before, 
giving her ambiguous answers, and speaking as 
favourably as they could; and that is the ruin of 
us all, adds he, in taking servants. 

But, sir, says I, the lady she lived with before 
did your lady a great deal of wrong, if she knew 
her to be what you say she was in her service. 

I don't know, madam, how 'twas for that : I never 
meddle with these things, says he, but I believe my 
wife was not so nice in her inquiries as you are ; or 
if she was, she was easier to be cheated in their an- 
swers ; and 'tis the ladies being thus backward to 
give just and plain accounts to one another, that is 
the reason that such a wretched gang of wenches 
run from house to house, and get places, and be- 
have in them as they do. Would the ladies, says 
he, be just to one another, speak plain and honestly, 
and give the creatures such characters as they de- 
serve, they would take care to deserve better cha- 
racters, and not behave so insolently, and so saucily 
as they do. This jade, madam, says he, that you 
come to inquire of, has insulted and taunted her 
mistress two or three times, at such a rate that 
I have been forced to send a footman into the 
room to bring her out by the head and shoulders. 



330 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



for fear her mistress should be frighted ; and yet 
she is so good to that slut, that she cannot find 
in her heart to speak the truth of her. 

My dear, says the lady, I have not said anything 
but truth of her. 

Well, my dear, says she again, I was not upon 
my oath. 

Why, that is true too, child, said he, but you are 
upon your honour, and that is equivalent to an 
oath ; and it would be hard to have this lady left 
to take such a devil into her house, merely for fear 
of injuring the wench ; why, you would injure the 
family you suffer to take her, much more than the 
maid. Let her go seek her fortune where nobody 
knows her, and there she may have time to mend 
her manners, and come to town again. 

Aunt. Why, niece, this gentleman was your in- 
structor. I think 'tis just his language that you 
speak ; only I think you did not talk so moderatel 
quite as he does. 

Sec. Niece. And very good language too, madam; 
'tis for want of this gentleman's rule that we have 
any saucy, insolent, idle servants in the world. 

Fir. Niece. It would make servants more cautious 
of their behaviour, I confess : but then, sister, it 
would put it in the power of mistresses to ruin poor 
servants when they pleased, and even when there 
was no good cause ; the bread of a servant would 
depend upon the breath of a mistress. 

Sec. Niece. There is no good in this world with- 
out a mixture of evil ; no convenience without its 
inconvenience ; but the damage that way, if it 
should be so at any time, is infinitely less than the 
mischief to families which comes by the insolence 
and wickedness of servants. 

Aunt. Nay, by the universal degeneracy of ser- 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



331 



vants, you might have said ; for even those we call 
good servants, at this time, are quite different things 
from what they were in former times, ay, ever since 
I can remember. 

Sec. Niece. Well, madam, but I could propose are- 
medy even against that part, which my sister objects 
against, of doing servants wrong; for I do not 
deny that some mistresses may injure their servants, 
and there ought to be no wrong on either hand. 

Fir. Niece. I have known a mistress refuse to 
give a poor servant a character, only because she 
was unwilling to part with her, and yet at the same 
time use her ill too. 

Sec. Niece. Such things may happen, I do not 
deny that. 

Fir. Niece. I have also known a mistress injure a 
servant by her partiality in favour of other ser- 
vants, and give a maid an ill character when she 
has not deserved it, by the mere reproaches raised 
on her by others. 

Sec. Niece. It is not possible to reckon up all the 
cases in which a mistress may injure a servant : 
'tis true, and there can no rule be set so exact, 
as that nobody shall be oppressed : but I have two 
things to say : — 

1. All the injustice that can be supposed to 
happen that way, is not equal to that which 
mistresses and families now suffer from the 
insolence and baseness of servants ; and 
therefore the remedy is to be embraced, 
and the lesser evil chosen. 

2. There may be methods directed by the law, 
that in such cases, where mistresses have 
nothing capital to charge upon a servant, 
they shall be obliged to give them certifi- 
cates of their behaviour. 



332 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Aunt. I have often thought of that ; but unless 
the form of that certificate be settled and adjusted 
by that very act of parliament, the mistresses will 
just write what they please, and when they are 
prejudiced against a servant, will say nothing in 
their certificates that shall do them any service, or 
recommend them at all to any one else. 

Sec. Niece. Those must be very malicious people 
that will go that length with a servant. 

Fir. Niece. But such people there are, and such 
perhaps always will be. 

Sec. Niece. Well, there may be a remedy for tliat 
too, for there may be two or three several forms of 
certificates directed by the law ; one volunteer, and 
full to all the behaviour of a servant, and the other 
to her honesty and sobriety only. 

Aunt. Why then, child, nobody would take a 
servant that had only your second-rate certificate ; 
they would presently say, her mistress had given 
no character but what she could not help. 

Sec. Niece. I rather think, madam, that all ser- 
vants would content themselves with what you 
are pleased to call my second-rate certificate. 

Aunt. Come, let us hear what kind of certificate 
it is, if you are lawyer enough to draw it up. 

Sec. Niece. I am not lawyer enough to draw it 
up in form ; but it should be to this purpose, 
madam. 

THE CERTIFICATE. 

I, A. B., do hereby certify that the bearer hereof, 
M. B., lived with me as a chambermaid one 
year and a quarter, ending the day of 
last, during which time she behaved herself 
honestly, modestly, and dutifully, as became 
a servant. 

Witness my hand, 
A. B. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



333 



Aunt. Why truly, niece, a servant th::t could not 
deserve so much character as that, nobody ought to 
take. 

Sec. Niece. Well, madam, and a servant that did 
deserve so much character as that, no mistress ought 
to deny. 

Fir. Niece. But suppose, sister, a mistress would 
maliciously deny it, as I said before. 

Sec. Niece. Why then the maid should have the 
same remedy as she has for her wages, viz., com- 
plain to a justice of peace, that in case upon the 
mistress's being heard, if she could not give suffi- 
cient reasons and proof of the fact, for which she 
refused such a certificate, the justice should sign 
the certificate to the maid, intimating that, having 
heard all that could be alleged, he did not find 
there was sufficient cause for refusing it. 

Aunt. Well, niece, and what was your first-rate 
certificate, pray, that you call this the second ? 

Sec. Niece. Why, madam, when a mistress may 
have a kindness for a servant, and is willing to give 
her an extraordinary recommendation, she may add 
that she is a very good needlewoman, or that she is 
a very good cook, that she was not only faithful, but 
diligent, and so in other cases : but, as I said, I be- 
lieve any servant will be contented with the second, 
which is sufficient. 

Fir. Niece. I agree, that the giving such certifi- 
cates would put an end to all those inquiries. 

Sec. Niece. Which oftentimes leave us in the 
dark as much as we were before they were made, 
nay, and sometimes more, a great deal. 

Aunt. That is our fault, indeed, that we will not, 
with freedom and plainness, acquaint one another 
what we are to expect from the maids we hire ; and 
'tis presuming upon this charitable disposition of 
mistresses, that maids behave so saucily as they do 



334 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



Sec. Niece, Well, if any of my maids go from me, 
I tell them plainly beforehand what they are to ex- 
pect of me, and what kind of character I shall give 
them, if they send anybody to me. 

Fir. Niece. And what effect has that upon them ? 
are they the better for it ? 

Sec. Niece. Why I'll tell you what effect it had 
upon one of my maids. I had told her my mind 
very roundly one day, upon the occasion of some- 
thing I did not like, and truly my maid turned very 
short upon me, and told me she was sorry she could 
not please me, and hoped I would provide myself 
then. I told her that she should not say she could 
not please me, but that she would not please me. 

She answered very pertly that it was as I would, 
I might take it which way I pleased. 

Very well, says I, Mary, you are very tart with 
me ; I hope when you send your next mistress to 
me for a character, you will expect to hear those 
very words again. 

Why would I be so barbarous, said she, to rip up 
words that passed in anger, and give them for the 
character of any servant ? 

No, Mary, says I, you should not say, will I be so 
barbarous ; you should say, would I be so honest as 
to give a character of you from your own mouth: 
depend upon it, Mary, says I, I shall not be so un- 
just to any mistress, to conceal a thing of that mo- 
ment from them ; why it would be doing them the 
greatest injury in the world. 

She stood still a good while, and said nothing ; 
but as she saw me looking at her, as if I expected 
an answer, the girl fell a crying, run to me, and, 
offering to kneel to me, begged my pardon, and told 
me she hoped I would allow her to recall her warn- 
ing, for she was resolved she would live with me till 
she had deserved a better character. 



RELIGIOUS COURTSHIP. 



335 



Aunt. Poor girl ! I should have told her she 
might go when she would then, for she had deserved 
a better character just then. 

Sec. Niece. I did not say so to her, but I would 
not let her kneel ; and I told her I would not insist 
upon her warning, for as long as she behaved so to 
me, I should, I believed, never put her away. 

Aunt. Well, but did she mend afterwards ? 

Sec. Niece. Indeed she was a very good servant 
before, only a little hasty and impatient of reproof, 
but she proved the best servant after it that anybody 
ever had. She is with me still. 

Aunt. It is certainly so : if we give fair, bold, and 
just characters of them, and it once came to be the 
custom or general usage among mistresses, servants 
would quickly carry it after another manner, at least 
they would take care to part upon as good terms as 
they could with their mistresses. 

Sec. Niece. Ay, and we should not cheat one an- 
other, as we do now, in giving characters to the 
vilest creatures that fall in our way. 



THE END. 



OXFORD : PRINTED BY D. A. TALBOYS. 



London, 1840. 

Be Foe's Novels and Miscellaneous Works, 
in Monthly Volumes. 

VOLS. I. TO XIV. ARE ALREADY PUBLISHED. 



THE NOVELS 

AND 

MISCELLANEOUS WORKS 

OF 

DANIEL DE FOE. 

WITH A BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR, LITERARY 
PREFACES TO THE VARIOUS PIECES, ILLUSTRATIVE NOTES, ETC. 

BY THE LATE 

SIR WALTER SCOTT AND OTHERS. 



It has long been one of the greatest reproaches of 
our national literature, that it contains no uniform 
edition of the works of the highly-gifted Author of 
Robinson Crusoe. Millions, indeed, who have been 
delighted and amused by this wonderful and univer- 
sally-admired story, are even ignorant of the fact, 
that the same writer has left for their entertainment 
and instruction, numerous other pieces of fiction and 
morality, equally amusing, and possessing, from the 
true and vivid pictures they contain of the life and 
manners of the age in which he lived, still higher 
claims to their notice. 

The only attempt that has hitherto been made to 
bring these fictions together, is the edition of De 
Foe's Novels, edited by Sir Walter Scott, in twelve 



2 



volumes ; yet, even this, (admirable so far as it goes, 
but always unsatisfactory, from its incompleteness,) 
is become rare, and difficult to procure. We cannot, 
therefore, feel a doubt but we shall be well en- 
couraged by the Public, in our endeavour to carry 
nearer to perfection the work so well begun by the 
great Modern Novelist. 

What we propose to do is : — 

First : To re-print the Novels edited by Sir Walter Scott 
with the addition of all those omitted by him, known to be 
De Foe's. 

Secondly : To re-print, uniformly with these, a selection of 
the most interesting and standard treatises of De Foe, in 
Theology, Morals, Politics, Magic and Witchcraft 
Poetry, &c. 

Thirdly : To prefix the Biographical Memoir of Sir Walter 
Scott ; and to retain his Literary Prefaces, Notes, &c. to 
the pieces contained in his edition, and to supply them, 
as nearly uniform as possible, to the remainder. 

It only remains to be said that the work will be 
correctly and elegantly printed by Mr. Talboys of 
Oxford, with a new type expressly cast for the pur- 
pose ; that by a discreet economy, without any sacri- 
fice of elegance, each volume will contain nearly 
two of Sir Walter Scott's edition ; that the entire 
collection will form about eighteen volumes in small 
octavo ; and that, for the convenience of all parties, 
it will be published in monthly volumes at 5s. each, 
neatly bound in cloth. 

The following is the order of publication : — 

VOL. 

1 & 2. Life of the Author. Adventures of 
Robinson Crusoe. 

3. Life, Adventures, and Piracies of Captain 
Singleton. 

4. The Fortunes and Misfortunes of M. Flanders 

5. Life and Adventures of Colonel Jack. 

6. Memoirs of a Cavalier. 



3 

7. Voyage Round the World, by a Course never 
sailed before. 

8. Carleton's Memoirs. Life of Mrs. Davies, 
commonly called * mother ross." 

9. History of the Plague. The Consolidator. 

10. History of the Devil. Apparition of Mrs. 
Veal. 

11. The Fortunate Mistress ; or, Life of Roxana. 

12. System of Magic, and History of the Black 
Art. 

13. Secrets of the Invisible World, and History of 
Apparitions. 

14. Religious Courtship. 

15 & 16. The Family Instructor. 
17 & 18. Miscellaneous Pieces in Prose and Verse, 
not of a temporary or local character. 



TESTIMONIES IN FAVOUR OF DANIEL DE FOE. 

"A complete list of De Foe's works, notwithstanding the exertions 
of the late George Chalmers, has not yet been procured, and a perfect 
collection, even of such books as he is well known to have written, can 
scarce be procured, even by the most active bibliomaniac. All, even 
the meanest of his compositions, have something in them to distinguish 
them as the works of an extraordinary man." — Walter Scott. 

" He must be acknowledged as one of the ablest, as he was one of the 
most captivating, writers, of which this island can boast." — Chalmers. 

" As a writer of fiction, whether we consider the originality of his 
genius, the simplicity of his design, or the utility of his moral, De Foe 
is now universally acknowledged to stand in the foremost ground. That 
his inventive powers were of the first order no one can doubt ; nor that 
he possessed the art, above most other men, of infusing into his perform- 
ances all the genuine pathos of nature, without the least apparent effort 
or exaggeration." — Wilson. 

"The author of Robinson Crusoe was an Englishman, and one of 
those Englishmen who make us proud of the name." — Edinburgh 
Review, xxiv. 321. 

" Most of our readers are probably familiar with De Foe's history of 
that great calamity (the Plague)— a work in which fabulous incidents 
and circumstances are combined with authentic narratives, with an art 
and verisimilitude which no other writer has ever been able to commu- 
nicate to fiction." — Edin. Rev. xxvi. 401. 

" De Foe visited Scotland about the time of the Union, and it is evident 
that the anecdotes concerning this unhappy period, must have been 
peculiarly interesting to a man of his liveliness of imagination, who ex- 
celled all others in dramatizing a story, and presenting it in actual 
speech and action before the reader."— Quarterly Review, vol. xvi. 454. 

" Few men have been more accurate observers of life and manners, 
and of the mechanism of society, than De Foe."— Quarterly Review, 
vol. xxiv. 361. 



4 



TESTIMONIES IN FAVOUR OF DANIEL DE FOE. 

"For our part, surrounded as we are by the bustle and cares of middle 
age, the mere mention of our author's name falls upon us as cool and 

refreshing as a drop of rain in the hot and parched midday 

We are compelled to regard him as a phenomenon ; and to consider 
his genius as something rare and curious, which it is impossible to assign 
to any class whatever. Throughout the ample stores of fiction in which 
our literature abounds, more than that of any other people, there are no 
works which at all resemble his, either in the design or execution. 
Without any precursor in the strange and unwonted path he chose, and 
without a follower, he spun his web of coarse but original materials, 
which no mortal had ever thought of using before ; and when he had 
done, it seems as though he had snapped the th.ead, and conveyed it 
beyond the reach of imitation. To have a numerous train of followers 
is usually considered as adding to the reputation of a writer: it is a pecu- 
liar honour to De Foe that he had none. Wherever he has stolen a 
grace beyond the reach of art, wherever the vigour and freshness of 

nature are apparent, there he is inaccessible to imitation In 

the fictions of De Foe we meet with nothing that is artificial, or that 
does not breathe the breath of life."— Retrospective Review. 

" De Foe's Novels, in spite of much improbability, have been oftener 
taken for true narratives than any fictions that ever were composed." — 
Quarterly Review, vol. xxiv. 361. 

" While all ages and descriptions of people hang delighted over 
Robinson Crusoe, and shall continue to do so we trust while the world 
lasts, how few comparatively will bear to be told, that there exist other 
fictious narratives by the same writer, four of them at least of no infe- 
rior interest : Roxana- Singleton— Moll Flanders— Colonel Jack— are all 
genuine offspring of the same father. An unpractised midwife would 
swear to the no?e, lip, forehead, and eye of every one of them ! They 
are in their way as full of incident, and some of them every bit as 
romantic." — Charles Lamb. 

" We would not hesitate to say, that in no other book of fiction 
where the lives of such characters are described, is guilt and delinquency 
made less seductive, or the suffering made more closely to follow the 
commission, or the penitence more earnest or more bleeding, or the 
intervening flashes of religious visitation, upon the rude uninstructed 
soul, more meltingly and fearfully painted." — The same. 

" It will be in vain to contend for anything like the same merit (as 
in Crusoe) in Moll Flanders, Captain Singleton, Colonel Jack, and 
Roxana ; yet it is, in part, of the same description. We advert to the 
singular truth and correctness of the individual portraiture. Whether 
it is possible to benefit the world by veritable likenesses of harlots, 
pirates, and sharpers, may be doubted ; but it is something to have them 
exhibited in their native deformity, without being sentimentalized into 
Gulnares, Conrades, and interesting enfans perdns of that Byronic 
description. Whatever caveat may be entered against these productions, 
that first-rate sign of genius, the power of imagining a character w r ithin 
a certain range of existence, and throwing into it the breath of life and 
individualization, was a pre-eminent mental characteristic of De Foe." 
— Westminster Review, vol. xiii. 69, &c. 



OXFORD I PRINTED BY D. A. TALBOYS, 
FOR THOMAS TEGG, LONDON.